The White House said on Thursday a bill renewing the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) was becoming law without US President Barack Obama’s signature.
While calling the extension of the ISA passed almost unanimously by the Congress “unnecessary”, Xinhua news agency quoted the White House as saying in a statement that an extension of the bill “is entirely consistent with” US commitments in the Iran nuclear deal reached in July 2015.
However, the White House said that Obama declined to sign the bill but let it become law anyway.
“Consistent with this longstanding position, the extension of the Iran Sanctions Act is becoming law without the President’s signature,” said the statement.
Under the US Constitution, if the President takes no action 10 days after the Congress passes a bill, the bill becomes law without the President’s signature. However, if the Congress adjourns before the 10 days pass, the bill fails without the signature.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday the extension of the ISA would not affect the scope of the sanctions relief Iran is receiving under the Iran unclear deal.
“The administration continues to have all of the necessary authorities to waive the relevant sanctions, with or without the extension of ISA,” said Kerry in a statement, adding that he would continue to sign waivers.
The surprising move was a direct reversal by the Obama administration after it said earlier that it was expecting that Obama would sign the bill.
It also represented the Obama administration’s latest efforts to reassure Iran that the US commitment to the nuclear deal would not be affected by the passage of the bill.