Iran sanctions renewal becomes law without Obama signature
In an unexpected reversal, President Barack Obama declined to sign a renewal of sanctions against Iran but let it become law anyway, in an apparent bid to alleviate Tehran’s concerns that the US is backsliding on the nuclear deal.
Although the White House had said that Obama was expected to sign the 10-year-renewal, the midnight deadline came and went with no approval from the president. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama had decided to let it become law without his signature.
Under the Constitution, the president has 10 days after Congress passes a bill to sign it, veto it or do nothing. If Congress has adjourned, failing to sign it is a “pocket veto” that prevents the bill from becoming law. But if Congress is still in session, the bill becomes law with no signature.
Although lawmakers have returned home for the holidays, Congress technically is still in session and holding “pro-forma” sessions this week.
Though Obama’s move doesn’t prevent the sanctions renewal from entering force, it marked a symbolic attempt by the president to demonstrate disapproval for lawmakers’ actions.
Iran had vowed to respond if the sanctions were renewed, arguing they violate the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which eased sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran’s government has complained to the United Nations about the renewal.