Country Risk

Congressional action on nuclear agreement “de-certification” likely to create political space for Trump to preserve JCPOA

27 October 2017

Key Points

  • The de-certification gives the Republican-majority US Congress the option of re-imposing US nuclear sanctions on Iran with a simple majority within 60 days.
  • A re-imposition of US nuclear sanctions would constitute a unilateral US withdrawal of the JCPOA, which would significantly undermine the JCPOA’s longevity and subsequently increase the risk of US/Israeli military action.
  • The US Congress is unlikely to trigger a unilateral US withdrawal during this period. Instead, congressional action would likely give Trump political space to preserve the JCPOA for now, delaying any US action against the JCPOA until later.


On 13 October 2017, US President Donald Trump refused to certify the Iran nuclear agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action: JCPOA), establishing that it is inconsistent with US national security interests in its current form.

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