The administration's next move in its monthslong review of its Iran policy was expected later Thursday, when President Donald Trump faced a deadline to decide on extending waivers that allow Iran to conduct much of its worldwide commerce.
In a sign of Trump's deep ambivalence about the deal, the sanctions waivers were announced today by U.S. officials on a background call where they also announced that the Treasury Department has blacklisted 11 Iranian entities and individuals allegedly linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) ballistic missile program and cyberhacking of USA financial institutions prior to 2013. In exchange for Tehran rolling back its nuclear program, the USA and other world powers agreed to suspend wide-ranging oil, trade and financial penalties that had choked the Iranian economy.
A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, called the waiver "a holding action", warning that no decision had been reached on the long-term future of the deal.
Haley also brought up the importance of stopping Iran from exploiting "ambiguous language" in the deal, as well as IAEA's access to facilities in the Islamic Republic.
Trump has publicly contemplated withholding certification of the JCPOA in mid-October regardless of Iranian actions, which would nearly certainly upend the nuclear accord by triggering the reinstatement of nuclear sanctions.
The nuclear non-proliferation experts said they "firmly support vigorous efforts to monitor and enforce compliance" with the agreement.
"If it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago", Trump told The Wall Street Journal in July.
France's President Emmanuel Macron said last month that the Iran agreement could be "supplemented" to address what happens after 2025 and deal with Iran's ballistic missile program.
Tillerson isn't the only administration official exploring ways to finesse certifying the Iran deal. "A lot of us find it ironic that you have an administration that seems hell-bent on creating another nuclear crisis for no reason", said Kahl.
That's produced a search for new options before the October 15 deadline under a law requiring the president to certify every 90 days that Iran is complying with the accord.
"The claim of such a right is fabricated by Mr. Amano", Velayati reportedly told Iranian state TV.
The pact negotiated between world powers and Iran trades sanctions relief for a rollback in Iran's nuclear activity.
Standing beside Tillerson, Britain's Johnson compared the tensions over North Korea's nuclear advance with the relative certitude that the Iran deal has provided.
The leaked memo is the latest bid by critics of the nuclear deal to shape the White House debate on the issue after a number of hawks were forced out of the White House, including chief strategist Stephen Bannon and Derek Harvey, who served on the National Security Council.