President waives sanctions, keeping US in deal for now, but begins four-month countdown until it ceases to comply with its obligations under the agreement
Donald Trump has waived a raft of sanctions against Iran as required under a 2015 nuclear agreement, staying within the deal for the time being, but the US president warned European allies and Congress it will be the last such waiver he signs if they fail to agree to radical changes.
With his announcement, the president in effect began a four-month countdown until the US ceases to comply with its obligations under the agreement. The next sanctions waivers fall due on 12 May. The president laid down conditions for signing those that former diplomats involved negotiating the deal said were all but impossible to meet.
The genesis of Trump’s particular antipathy to Iran is hard to pin down. Before entering office he had been sceptical of Iran’s regional rival, Saudi Arabia. But during the 2016 election campaign all his closest foreign policy advisors, such as Michael Flynn, shared a worldview that portrays Iran as an uniquely malign actor in the Middle East and beyond. After the election, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were successful in capturing the ear of Trump and his son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner.