The Trump administration is working on a legislative fix with key lawmakers that could create a pathway for the US to remain a signatory to the Iran nuclear deal. The changes could come as early as next week.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the Associated Press that he is meeting with congressional leaders “on a very active basis,” to hammer out a legislative solution to keep the US signed on to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Trump will next week again consider whether or not to certify Tehran's compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement. A certification would grant the Iranian economy some relief from potential US sanctions.
Talks between Congress, the State Department and the White House are expected to settle on a compromise that would not increase restrictions on Iran's nuclear activity. Trump wants further measures. However, there are options that would strengthen the way the US enforces the 2015 agreement, possibly persuading Trump that the deal is worthwhile for the US to stay in, AP reported.
“The president said he is either going to fix it or cancel it,” Tillerson said, according to AP. “We are in the process of trying to deliver on the promise he made to fix it.”
“I don’t want to suggest we’re across the finish line on anything yet,” the secretary of state cautioned.
Getting an agreement in Congress in such a short period of time could be challenging, but an unnamed congressional aide confirmed to AP that there has been significant progress in the discussions. However, that same aide said negotiations have not started on a specific text in relation to the so-called fix.
Trump has yet to make a formal decision. In October, he declined to certify Iran's compliance with the agreement, stating that the sanctions relief the US was affording Iran was disproportionate to Iran's concessions in the deal. At that time, Trump also stated that the JCPOA wasn't in America's national interest.
One option lawmakers have been teasing out with the White House, is removing the requirement that Trump certify Iran’s compliance in the deal. Another legislative proposal reportedly brought up is to allow more time in between US certification deadlines. Any of these changes, however, would have to get significant support among Republicans and Democrats in Congress.