President Donald Trump has not yet made a decision on whether to sign an Iran sanctions waiver later this month, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday.
But Sanders said the administration is keeping "our options open" as far as sanctions against Iran are concerned, particularly as popular protests continue to grip Iran.
Trump faces a mid-January deadline when he must decide about renewing temporary waivers for US sanctions against Iran. The renewal of those waivers -- which provide relief from US sanctions not set to expire for several years -- must occur every 120 days under the terms of the agreement.
"We certainly keep our options open in terms of sanctions. In terms of signing a waiver later in January, the President hasn't made a final decision on that," Sanders said. "He's going to keep every option on the table."
Trump waived the sanctions at the last deadline, but has since decertified Iran's compliance with the nuclear agreement, raising questions about whether the US will continue to extend sanctions relief stemming from the deal to Iran.
Trump must also decide this month once again whether to certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear agreement or not. The administration has said it is seeking new legislation through Congress to end the perpetual certification process every 90 days, but nothing has yet to come out of Capitol Hill on that front.
Sanders also echoed Trump's support for the popular protests in Iran and said the White House believes "the Iranian people are angry at the rising tide of corruption in their daily lives.
"The people are tired of paying the price for their violent and corrupt rulers," Sanders said of the largest protests in Iran since 2009. "The international community cannot sit silent as it did then. We call on the regime to respect its citizens' basic right to express their desire for change."
Sanders declined to say whether the White House supports regime change in Iran, cautiously fielding questions on the topic.
"We support them giving basic rights to the people of Iran and we support them stopping being a state sponsor of terror," Sanders said when she was asked about US support for regime change in Iran.
Pressed again later, Sanders offered a similar reply.
"Those are the changes we're looking for. If they want to do that through current leadership -- if that's possible -- OK," Sanders said.
Sanders said the administration is keeping "our options open"
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