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Even more than the actual deal, Mr Trump detests the certification requirement, which forces him to sign off every three months on an accord he has called the worst deal ever negotiated by the United States, according to the officials.

Since the nuclear deal - formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - took effect in January 2016, Iran has allowed inspections and is seeing some economic payoff. With the threat of restoring those old sanctions and imposing new ones - as well as the threat of military force - the USA hopes to have new leverage and get Iran to accept changes to the deal.

This might also embolden hardliners in Iran to pressure its moderate regime to withdraw from the agreement, breaking up what was a remarkable global agreement that ultimately helped Iranian citizens weather a period of economic recession and limited its nuclear programme for peaceful purposes.

Many disagree Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA, including Senators Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, David Perdue, R-Ga., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who spelled out major instances of Iranian noncompliance and cheating in a July 11, 2017 letter to Secretary of State Tillerson.

In a rare case of the United Kingdom publicly pressuring the USA, the British government said Wednesday that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had called Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to underscore British support for the deal.

European allies are warning of a split with the United States on the issue.

The U.S. will need to work with Britain, France and Germany - all parties to the Iran nuclear pact - to fix its flaws and those countries need to know that the U.S.is a reliable partner, according to Engel. Under a new version being negotiated with Congress, he would have to endorse the deal less frequency but the United States intelligence community would have to assess whether Iran is carrying out covert activity in facilities not visited by the IAEA.

So far Trump has certified the accord but said the next deadline on Sunday is the crucial one.

The White House is seeking to extend or eliminate the expiration date for so-called "sunset" provisions, which limit the amount of uranium Iran is allowed to enrich.

After Trump made clear three months ago he would not certify Iran's compliance with the deal, his advisers moved to give him options to consider, a senior administration official said.

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Federica Mogherini, while talking to PBS TV channel, on Wednesday, highlighted Iran's full compliance with the 2015 deal.

But Iranian officials have already ruled out any renegotiation of the deal.

Officials have also said there could be room to open a new negotiation for what happens once some of the core terms of the deal begin expiring in 2025, although there is no reason to believe Iran would be ready to enter in such a negotiation.

First, Congress could vote to snap sanctions back into place, or Trump could refuse to sign the next round of waivers for sanctions. "S. intelligence agencies showing Iran in active or significant violation of the JCPOA", NCG's letter concludes.

Second, Trump could call for greater non-nuclear sanctions on Iran as it seeks to punish the regime without violating the deal.

Former Obama administration officials who played central roles in brokering the Iran nuclear agreement briefed congressional Democrats later Wednesday on the merits of the global accord.

"Iran is kind of a long-term destabilizing actor in the region and so we remain concerned about their activities as well", U.S. General Joseph Votel told reporters.

In this environment, many Democrats believe working on the periphery of the deal could be the congressional equivalent of destroying the village to save it.

She noted that the global community, including the European Union and other USA allies, will continue to abide by the deal even if Trump chooses not to certify Iran's compliance, something which has been confirmed eight times by the worldwide Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).


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