White House warns against ditching Iran deal, as sanctions become law

16.12.2016

The White House warned Congress on Thursday against overturning the Iran nuclear deal when Donald Trump takes office, as President Barack Obama took the unusual step of allowing a sanctions bill to become law without his signature.

The Senate had earlier this month extended for 10 years legislation that enables sanctions to be levied against Iran, but the White House had been ambivalent about the legislation. Spokesman Josh Earnest said the legislation did not violate the Iran nuclear deal that has seen the US waive sanctions against Tehran in exchange for steps aimed at preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

However Obama felt the legislation was unnecessary and that the executive branch already had all the authority it needed to take measures against Iran if necessary.

Because the legislation did not meet Obama's standard for a veto, but he also believed it unnecessary, he allowed it to become law through a rarely used provision that allows a bill to become law if the president does not act on it, Earnest said.

The legislation, which dates back to 1996, imposes sanctions on Iranian energy, military and banking sectors, but were waived by Obama under the nuclear deal. Obama hoped the move would send a message to Congress that if it "does blow up the deal that prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon they're going to have to deal with the consequences and the consequences are grave," Earnest said.    (dpa)

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