Should US President Donald Trump decide not to recertify Iran's compliance, US Congressional leaders would have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose the sanctions on Tehran that were suspended under the agreement hammered out by world powers and Iran in 2015.
Ahead of the October 15 recertification deadline, several officials familiar with White House deliberations told the French news agency AFP that Trump has made clear he does not want to certify Iran's compliance with the treaty.
"They have not lived up to the spirit of the agreement," said Trump in a meeting with military leaders on Thursday. "The Iranian regime supports terrorism and exports violence and chaos across the Middle East."
Despite previously also commenting on the "spirit" of the agreement, the Trump administration has twice confirmed that Tehran is sticking to the deal.
Trump: 'You will be hearing about Iran very shortly'
"That is why we must put an end to Iran's continued aggression and nuclear ambitions," he said. "You will be hearing about Iran very shortly."
Trump is expected to announce his stance next week ahead of a deadline to report on whether Iran is complying with the agreement. Trump will reportedly say the agreement - reached in 2015 after years of negotiations between Iran and six world powers - is not in the US national interest.
"We must not allow Iran ... to obtain nuclear weapons," Trump said.
A key adviser, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis recently said the United States should not scrap the deal. A number of international leaders also called on the president to keep the agreement.
Read more: European leaders insist accord is working
The president's possible decision doesn't mean the deal will be scrapped, but it would open the door to changing it, the Washington Post reported.
"I think you will see that announced in short order. And that will be a comprehensive strategy, with a unified team behind him supporting that effort," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Thursday.
Trump complained about the deal during the 2016 presidential campaign and last month at the UN General Assembly called it "one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the US has ever entered into."
Iranian authorities have said Tehran would not be the first to violate the accord, under which Iran agreed to restrict its nuclear program in return for lifting most international sanctions, which had crippled its economy.
French President Emmanuel Macron said last month there was no alternative to the nuclear accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
jbh/sms (dpa, Reuters, AFP)