Every 90 days, the president of the United States is required to certify an international nuclear agreement with the Middle Eastern country of Iran.
President Donald Trump has done this twice. But this weekend, he announced he would not recertify the agreement this time around. What does that mean?
First, the deal. It's official named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. It was signed in 2015 while the Obama administration was in office. Six countries led by the U.S. agreed to remove sanctions, economic penalties on Iran, allowing tens of billions of dollars to flow into Iran's economy. In exchange, Iran agreed to significantly limit its controversial nuclear program, at least temporarily, and to allow international inspectors into the country to make sure it was living up to the deal.
Inspectors with the United Nations say Iran is keeping its end of the agreement. But President Trump says Iran isn't. He says the country is still a nuclear threat and that he's not recertifying the Iran nuclear deal.
This doesn't mean the agreement is cancelled. It means that it's now up to the U.S. Congress to decide whether to reinstate U.S. sanctions against Iran and that's something that could lead to the end of the deal.
But experts say the Trump administration doesn't want to end it entirely, but instead wants changes made. For one thing, the current deal put certain restrictions on Iran's nuclear program for 10 to 15 years. The Trump administration wants those limits to stay indefinitely.
For another, the current deal does not limit Iran's ballistic missile program. The Trump administration wants it to. So, Congress will be considering these new requirements as it debates what to do about the deal.
What do others say? Well, Britain, France and Germany, who are involved in the original negotiations have said they still support the deal, that it's in their national security interest. Iran has said the U.S. president can't decide the fate of the deal on his own, but that if other countries in the agreement don't abide by their commitments, Iran would give them a, quote, fitting response.
Israel and Saudi Arabia, who are not part of the Iran deal, say the Trump administration is doing the right thing by decertifying it, that more needs to be done to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions, missile program and support of terrorism.
The U.S. Congress now has 60 days to decide the next steps.