Trump's Iran Nuclear Deal AnnouncementToday, President Trump announced his intent to decertify Iran's compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or Iran Nuclear Deal). However, his announcement does not necessarily mean that the United States has withdrawn from the Iran deal. Instead his announcement gives Congress sixty (60) days to determine whether it would violate the Deal.
The U.S. involvement in the JCPOA can be terminated in two ways: 1) by a decision of the President to withdraw the U.S.'s involvement; or, 2) by an act of Congress or the President which imposes certain sanctions against Iran that violate the JPCOA. The President chose not to withdraw from the deal, but kicked the can to Congress. Under the Iran Review Act, the President must report to Congress every ninety (90) days on the progress of the Iran Deal. The President must certify that: 1) Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA; and, 2) that continued suspension of the previous sanctions against Iran is vital to the national security interest of United States.
By most accounts, Iran has complied with the technical terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. However, the President emphasized that Iran has violated the "spirit" of the deal. For the purposes of the Iran Review Act, violation of the spirit of the deal is not a relevant trigger. However, the President also announced that waving sanctions is not "in the vital security interests of the United States." Under the Iran Review Act, the President's failure to provide the second certification triggers an opportunity for Congress to re-impose sanctions against Iran and for Congress to violate the JCPOA. Congress will have sixty (60) days from the 15th of October to determine whether it wishes to impose previous sanctions on Iran.
For now, The Iran-related sanctions waivers are still in effect and U.S. companies, through their foreign subsidiaries, are still authorized to conduct petroleum and petrochemical activities, provided that they remain in compliance with the sanctions waivers.