Updated at 1:13 p.m.
After months of speculation, here’s the Trump administration’s policy toward the nuclear deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action: “We will stay in the JCPOA, but the president will decertify under INARA,” said Rex Tillerson, the U.S. secretary of state, referring to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. What this essentially means is that the JCPOA is safe for now, but Congress could amend existing U.S. legislation to make it easier to impose sanctions on Iran. If that doesn’t happen, Trump said, “the agreement will be terminated.”
The administration will ask Congress to amend the existing U.S. legislation that covers the multilateral agreement so that lawmakers could automatically impose U.S. sanctions if Iran crosses certain “trigger points” on the nuclear program and its ballistic-missile program. The legislation would also, Tillerson said, deal with the sunset clauses in the JCPOA that critics say merely delay the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon.
“These amendments under INARA would outlive the JCPOA,” he said.
The Trump administration will also impose targeted Treasury Department sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite branch of the Iranian military—a move that falls far short of what critics of Iran wanted: for the IRGC to be declared a terrorist group, but which some observers have called “a distinction without a difference.” Tillerson also said the U.S. would seek a complementary deal with Iran on its regional activity and ballistic-missile program, suggesting he had broached the issue with his Iranian counterpart and other signatories to the JCPOA.