President Trump on Friday decided once more to waive sanctions against Iran and thus live up to the Iran nuclear agreement, but his administration warned this would be the last waiver unless new conditions are agreed.
“This is the last such waiver he will issue,” a senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters.
That provided a sharp edge to what was otherwise good news for Iran, as Trump renewed the waiver that former President Barack Obama granted at the culmination of his team’s nuclear negotiations with the regime. But if he is not exiting the deal abruptly, Trump’s team made clear that he remains determined to withdraw in the coming months absent a series of policy victories with Iran.
The official said Trump would also be looking for a way to evolve the agreement with other countries.
“He intends to work with our European partners on some kind of follow-on agreement that enshrines certain triggers that the Iranian regime cannot exceed related to its ballistic missiles, related to its nuclear breakout period — to hold them to one year or less — to inspections, and that we have no sunset clause,” the senior administration official said.
The Trump administration also announced additional sanctions against human rights violators in Iran, a sign of the administration’s increasing focus on Iran’s aggression since the implementation of the pact, including how it has handled the recent civil unrest among its own people.
“We are targeting the Iranian regime, including the head of Iran’s judiciary, for its appalling mistreatment of its citizens, including those imprisoned solely for exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly, and for censoring its own people as they stand up in protest against their government,” said Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. “We are also targeting Iran’s ballistic missile program and destabilizing activities, which it continues to prioritize over the economic well-being of the Iranian people.”
That particular provision advances the administration’s goal of aiding the protestors who denounced the regime in cities across Iran over several days at the end of December and early January. The outburst resulted in 21 deaths, according to reports, and an Iranian official said that about 3,700 protesters were arrested.
“They’re going to generate information and make sure it gets around; they’re going to go after the people who censoring the information internally; and then thirdly, they’re going to go after everyone else who is beating the protesters,” a source close to the White House predicted last week. "It's not just words, it's not just rhetoric, they are going to do what they can across the board to help the protesters.”