The renewal of Iran sanctions will become law without Obama’s signature, the White House says. In an unexpected move, President Barack Obama declined to sign the sanctions renewal, but allowed it to become law.
The White House previously reported that Obama would sign the 10-year renewal. Josh Earnest, White House press secretary, said the president allowed the renewal to become law without his signature.
“This Administration has made clear that an extension of the Iran Sanctions Act, while unnecessary, is entirely consistent with our commitments to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” said a statement from the White House. “Consistent with this longstanding position, the extension of the Iran Sanctions Act is becoming law without the President’s signature.”
While Obama’s move did not prevent the renewal from becoming law, it demonstrated his disapproval of lawmakers’ actions. The White House has argued that the sanctions renewal is unnecessary, and only works to undermine the nuclear deal.
Iran’s government has threatened to respond if the sanctions were renewed. Iran has issued a complaint to the United Nations. Iran’s president also ordered plans on Tuesday to build nuclear-powered ships and formally accuse the United States of violating the agreement.
The move by Tehran further ignites tensions with Washington, sparked by President-elect Donald Trump’s vow to scrap the deal. Trump has been critical of the deal, and has threatened to renegotiate it. Republicans in favor of the sanctions say renewing them would allow Trump to reinstate the penalties lifted under the Obama administration.
The nuclear deal lifted sanctions on oil and trade, which devastated Iran’s economy. In exchange for easing the sanctions, Iran agreed to roll back its nuclear program.
Those critical of the deal argue that the agreement has many flaws, as it does not suspend all Iran activity, and vital restrictions will expire.