The Trump administration is poised to extend sanctions relief to Iran, avoiding imminent action that could implode the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.
But the move expected Thursday comes as the White House seeks ways to find that Tehran is not complying with the agreement. President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the deal, but has yet to pull out of it.
Trump is working against a Thursday deadline to decide whether to extend the sanctions waivers, which were first issued by the Obama administration.
In exchange for Tehran rolling back its nuclear program, the U.S. and other world powers agreed to suspend wide-ranging oil, trade and financial sanctions that had choked the Iranian economy.
Administration officials say Trump is ready to extend the waivers and that no serious alternatives have been presented. But they cautioned that Trump could still change his mind, and they said he remains determined to “decertify” Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal by a separate, mid-October deadline — a finding that would jeopardize further sanctions relief.
The officials were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Both the sanctions relief and the certification deadlines come amid a broader administration review of Iran policy that is likely to lead to the adoption of a harder line, including the imposition of significant new non-nuclear sanctions, when it is completed next month.