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Iran nuclear deal: What is it?

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Iran nuclear deal: What is it?

Iran nuclear deal: What is it?

President Donald Trump announced in October that he would decertify the contentious Iran nuclear deal and accused the “radical” and “fanatical” regime of violating the agreement multiple times.

Trump’s decision not to recertify the deal punted the future of the agreement to Congress – which had a 60-day unofficial deadline that was up on Dec. 12. Congress was tasked with deciding whether to dismantle the agreement or impose more sanctions on Iran.

In announcing the decertification, Trump warned that he could “cancel” America’s involvement in the agreement “at any time.”  

The nuclear deal with Iran has long been a point of contention, especially among Republicans who opposed it.

What is the Iran nuclear deal?

The Iran nuclear deal framework – officially the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” – was a historic agreement reached by Iran and several world powers, including the U.S., in 2015, under Barack Obama’s presidency.

In part, the deal was made to reduce Iran’s ability to produce two components used in making nuclear weapons: plutonium and uranium. In return, crippling economic sanctions on Iran were to be abated.

“Every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off,” Obama said at the time. “This deal is not built on trust. It is built on verification.”

A point of contention for many opponents is the deal’s so-called “sunset clause” which would ease some of the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program over time.

The deal was reached after two years of negotiations.

Certification that Iran is complying with the deal must be sent to Congress every 90 days. The first under the Trump administration noted that Tehran was in compliance.

What has Trump said about it?

Ahead of Trump’s public criticism at the U.N. General Assembly in September, his administration slapped more than a dozen sanctions on Iranian individuals and groups in July for aiding its non-nuclear weapons program.

The sanctions froze assets in the U.S. and prevented Americans from doing business with these 18 parties.

Members of the Iranian delegation listen as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Members of the Iranian delegation listen as President Donald Trump speaks during the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

 (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

During the presidential campaign, Trump accused Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then his opponent, for making Iran a “world power” under the nuclear deal, which he called “the highest level of incompetence.”

“If you take a look at Iran from four, five years ago, they were dying,” Trump said during an event in Virginia Beach, Va., in September 2016. “They had sanctions, they were being choked to death and they were dying. They weren’t even going to be much of a threat.”

On Twitter, Trump has referred to the agreement as “a direct national security threat,” a “catastrophe that must be stopped,” the “dumbest & most dangerous misjudgments ever entered into in history of our country” and “the best deal of any kind in history” for Iran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that the U.S. would pay a “high cost” if it backs out of the agreement. 

What happens now?

Congressional aides have said there’s still time for lawmakers to come up with a plan to propose to Trump, the Washington Times reported.

Senators Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said in October that they planned to introduce legislation that would change certain points of the Iran deal – including nixing the requirement of the president to recertify every 90 days and adding increased sanctions. But the lawmakers have not produced a draft legislation.

Trump is reportedly frustrated with Congress’ current lack of proposal and could pull the U.S. out of the deal entirely in Jan. 13 when it’s up for review again, according to the Washington Times.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @K_Schallhorn.


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