(WASHINGTON) — President Trump is expected to announce his decision on the fate of the Iran nuclear deal in a speech on Friday, according to lawmakers briefed by the administration.
White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster was on Capitol Hill Wednesday evening briefing top Republican lawmakers on the administration’s forthcoming announcement.
Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told reporters of the planned Friday speech.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also been briefing key lawmakers on the administration’s plans for the agreement, and met with Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, today at the State Department, according to a congressional aide.
As ABC News has previously reported, President Trump is expected to “decertify” the Iran nuclear deal forged by the Obama administration and declare that it no longer serves U.S. national security interests.
That decision not to certify the agreement would give Congress 60 days to re-impose sanctions against Iran that were suspended in 2015 as part of the agreement.
Trump could also ask Congress to impose additional non-nuclear sanctions — such as penalties against Iran’s ballistic missile program — on Iran, which would not end U.S. participation in the nuclear agreement. He could also ask lawmakers to amend the existing law requiring he re-certify Iran’s compliance with the agreement every 90 days.
Top officials on the Trump national security team, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, have said Iran has technically complied with the nuclear deal.
Republicans critical of the initial deal have urged the administration to enforce it.
“As flawed as the deal is, I believe we must now enforce the hell out of it,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said in a hearing Wednesday. “Let’s work with allies to make certain that international inspectors have better access to possible nuclear sites, and we should address the fundamental sunset shortcoming, as our allies have recognized.”
Former Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who helped craft and negotiate the agreement with Iran under President Obama, traveled to Capitol Hill Wednesday to brief House Democrats on the nuclear deal and the argument for keeping it in its current form.
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