UPDATED: Timeline of the Iran nuclear deal under Trump


While running for the presidency, Donald J. Trump pledged to get the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal. Now that he’s president, Trump inches closer to fulfilling his campaign promise. As a key deadline nears on May 12, Trump’s demands to “fix the deal’s disastrous flaws” have yet to be realized.  

The WikiTribune community is tracking how the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the official name of the Iran nuclear deal, has fared under a Trump administration. The fate of the 2015 deal comes up every three months when the president can withdraw from it. On May 12, the president will decide whether the U.S. should reapply sanctions on Iran, which could effectively end the deal and repave Iran’s goal to obtain a nuclear weapon.

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2018

  • May 6 – British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson writes in New York Times that “only Iran would gain” from abandoning nuclear restrictions. “Of all the options we have for ensuring that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon, this pact offers the fewest disadvantages.”
  • May 5 – Johnson says he will fly to Washington D.C to urge the Trump administration not to do away with the Iran deal. He will meet U.S Vice-President Mike Pence, National Security Adviser John Bolton and foreign policy leaders in Congress. Johnson said: “The UK, US and European partners are also united in our effort to tackle the kind of Iranian behaviour that makes the Middle East region less secure – its cyber activities, its support for groups like Hezbollah, and its dangerous missile programme, which is arming Houthi militias in Yemen.”
  • May 4 – Iran’s foreign minister says U.S. demands to change the deal were unacceptable. “Iran will not renegotiate what was agreed years ago and has been implemented,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a video message posted on YouTube.
  • May 3 – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urges Trump not to walk away from the deal. Speaking to the BBC, Guterres said there was a real risk of war if the 2015 agreement was not preserved. “We should not scrap it unless we have a good alternative,” he said. “We face dangerous times.”
  • March 18 – U.S. Senator Bob Corker says he expects Trump to leave deal. Corker, the head of the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations, told CBS News that he expects President Donald J. Trump to leave the JCPOA once the May 12 deadline approaches. “I think the president likely will move away from it, unless our European counterparts really come together on a framework.”
  • March 16 – EU nations consider new sanctions against Iran to keep the U.S. in the Iran nuclear deal. Reuters reports that Britain, France and Germany drafted a document proposing sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program. Ballistic missiles are not part of the nuclear agreement, but the Trump administration says that these missiles are used to destabilize the region, Yemen and Syria in particular. France has been particularly bullish on passing new sanctions in order to appease the Trump administration.
  • January 11 – Trump extends JCPOA for 120 days for the “last time.” The Trump administration withholds slapping sanctions back on Iran in order to give the EU and U.S. Congress a chance to meet its demands.  “I have outlined two possible paths forward: either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw,” Trump said in an official statement.
    • Trump’s demands to remain in the nuclear deal: 1) Remove ‘sunset clauses’ in the agreement that curb inspections of Iranian military sites after ten years. and a dramatic reduction to the country’s ballistic missile program. 2) Allow for inspections to be immediate upon request. 3) prohibit testing of long-range missiles along with the ban on nuclear weapons. If these demands aren’t met, Trump said that “American nuclear sanctions would automatically resume.”
  • January 11 – EU leaders show a united front in endorsing the Iran nuclear deal. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini hosted a meeting between the foreign ministers of France, the UK, Germany, and Iran in Brussels. In a statement, Mogherini said that “the unity of the international community is essential to preserve a deal that is working.” The meeting was intended as a show of unity on the eve of Trump’s decision on whether to re-enforce oil sanctions that were lifted as a result of the pact.

2017

  • October 13 – Trump’s first official move towards ending the Iran nuclear deal. President Donald J. Trump “decertified” the JCPOA, after certifying compliance twice before. The decision gave the U.S. Congress 60 days to reimpose economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic that were removed under the international agreement. Congress never took action. (Read more from WikiTribune on Trump first decertifying the deal). 

WATCH: President Trump announces decision on Iran deal

President Donald Trump announces his decision on whether or not the United States will certify that Iran is in compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement.

  • October 11 – EU aggressively lobby for Iran nuclear deal. The European countries who signed the JCPOA strongly support the agreement and began to strategize to preserve it. The focus of Europe’s strategy has been on lobbying U.S. lawmakers.  UK Prime Minister Theresa May personally called President Trump by phone on October 10 in hopes of convincing him to certify Iranian compliance.  
  • September 28 – Iran says that U.S. withdrawal could end deal for everyone. Iranian Foreign MinisterMohammad Javad Zarif could withdraw from the deal if the U.S does so first. The U.S. would violate the nuclear deal as soon as Congress reimposes economic sanctions on Iran.
  • July 17 – Trump signs off JCPOA for three months. The New York Times reports that Trump reluctantly certified that Iran was in compliance, heeding the advice of most of his advisers. But he vowed to strengthen the deal going forward.
  • April 18 – Trump signs off JCPOA for three months. When first faced with the Iran nuclear deal, the Trump administration certified that Iran was in compliance (US News). 

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