World waits for US to announce decision on Iran nuclear deal sanctions

Friday is deadline day for U.S. President Donald Trump to reimpose sanctions lifted under the Iran nuclear deal.  The decision could have far-reaching implications. CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.

Last year, Trump waived sanctions under the deal, but refused to certify that Iran is complying with the terms – casting U.S. commitment in doubt.

“The president still strongly believes the Iran nuclear deal is one of the worse of all time and leaves Iran free to develop nuclear weapons,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Trump huddled with his national security team on Thursday afternoon in the Oval office. His top diplomat told reporters – this is where he made the final call.

Even if Trump waives international sanctions, the U.S. will still keep its unilateral sanctions.

“They’re saying, ‘we’re going to violate the deal a little, not a lot, but a little bit, and we dare you, Iran, to pull out.’ Now, I don’t think that’s very helpful,” said Jim Walsh of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

While the White House has refused to certify that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal, it’s also working with U.S. lawmakers to address concerns about Tehran’s ballistic missile program and additional U.S. sanctions are not out of the question.

Opponents of the Iran nuclear deal are calling on Trump to levy additional sanctions if he chooses to remain in the agreement.

“Should the President choose to remain in the Iran nuclear deal, he should also impose new sanctions against elements of the Iranian government, including the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks, that are involved in or facilitating the regime’s human rights abuses against Iranian protesters, its ballistic missile program, or its support for terrorism,” said Republican Senator Marco Rubio.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters, Thursday, future sanctions are a sure bet.

“There are many activities outside of the Iran deal, whether it be ballistic missiles, whether it be other issues, that we will continue to sanction that are outside the JCPOA, human rights violations,” he said.

Attorney Wynn Segall heads the sanctions practice at the firm Akin Gump in Washington, D.C.

“To the extent that U.S. companies and European companies hesitate to go in, it certainly impacts the potential economic benefits that the Iranians can realize. It does undermine the credibility of the current leadership – arguing to the general population that this is a good deal,” Segall explained.

That idea that the 2015 nuclear agreement is a “good deal” for Iranians — is falling flat on the streets of Iran, where protesters have said they’re still not seeing the promised benefits of lifting economic sanctions. It’s unclear whether Trump, who has expressed support for the demonstrators, is taking their concerns into account.