trump termed the nuclear arms agreement with Iran as one of the worst deals ever. As late as August, President Trump called the agreement an “embarrassment.” However, it appears that the president has decided to punt on the nuclear weapons agreement. He intends to “decertify” the deal since he believes it is not in the best interests of the United States. However, he will decline to impose sanctions again, following the lead of Secretary of State Tillerson and ignoring the advice of such Iran hawks as former UN Ambassador John Bolton.

However, Trump has invited Congress to amend the terms of the agreement to include other aspects of Iranian misbehavior, such as its missile program and its support of terrorism.

Why is the United States staying in the agreement?

The main excuse for staying in the nuclear weapons agreement is that Iran is said to be following it to the letter if not the spirit. This assessment is almost certainly not accurate, Bolton suggested in a piece from the Hill. He believes Iranian nuclear weapons development is almost certainly going on at specific military sites from which UN inspectors are barred from entering.

More politically, Congressional Democrats, always averse to undermining an Obama legacy item, no matter how pernicious, will not go along. Also, none of the other parties to the agreement, notably Russia and China, are likely to join in on the new sanctions. They are making too much money doing business with the Islamic Republic to allow a little thing like nuclear proliferation to interfere with it.

With Iranian financial assets returned, America has fewer opportunities to apply pressure. Finally, with North Korea keeping people awake at night, Trump has decided that one nuclear crisis at a time is enough.

What will Trump do instead?

Congress will be invited to amend the agreement to include “nonnuclear” triggers that could result in the reinstatement of sanctions.

These would consist of missile development and support of terrorism. Some targeted sanctions against people and groups associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a group that has been associated with terrorism, will be imposed.

What happens next?

Congress is now in charge of what happens next where relations with Iran are concerned.

It could follow Trump’s lead and expand the original agreement. It could also impose sanctions by itself, in effect repealing the deal. Or Congress can do nothing.

The United States is also going to start working more closely with its allies in the Middle East, mainly the Arab Gulf states and Israel. Missile defenses will be built and enhanced. Anti-terrorism measures will be taken.

Trump also reserves to himself the power to abrogate the agreement at will. If and when that happens, the move will likely be followed by a military strike against Iranian nuclear targets.