Trump’s decision to come on Iran nuclear deal
MNA International Desk: U.S. President Donald Trump will announce on Tuesday whether he will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal or stay in. It will also clear if US administration will work with its European allies who say the deal has successfully halted Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Trump has consistently threatened to pull out of the 2015 agreement because it does not address Iran’s ballistic missile program or its role in wars in Syria and Yemen, and does not permanently prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.
A senior U.S. official close to the process said France, Germany and Britain had moved significantly to address Trump’s concerns over the ballistic missile program, the terms under which international inspectors visit suspect Iranian sites, and “sunset” clauses under which some terms of the deal expire.
But it was not clear whether those last-ditch efforts had made enough progress to persuade Trump to stay in the pact.
European leaders have warned that a U.S. withdrawal would undo years of work that led to and sustained a landmark deal that has kept nuclear weapons out of Iran’s hands.
Trump, in a tweet on Monday, said he would make the announcement at 2 p.m. (1800 GMT) on Tuesday.
The Iran deal, negotiated during the administration of Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, eased economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran limiting its nuclear program.
But Trump has called it the “worst deal ever negotiated” and he wants Britain, France and Germany – which also signed the pact along with Russia and China – to toughen up the terms.
In the past few weeks, the Republican president has consulted either in person or by telephone with leaders of all three countries.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson made the rounds in Washington on Monday, including talks with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Still, European diplomats privately said they expected Trump to withdraw from the agreement.
Trump has until Saturday to decide whether to extend the waivers or withdraw and reintroduce sanctions related to Iran’s central bank and Iranian oil exports.
That would dissuade foreign companies from doing business with Iran because they could be subject to U.S. penalties.
Iran has said it will not renegotiate the accord and threatened to retaliate if the United States pulls out, although it has not said how.
Diplomats and military experts say Tehran could seek to resume its nuclear arms program or step up its military involvement in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani suggested on Monday that Iran might remain in the nuclear deal even if Trump abandons it and imposes sanctions. But he also warned that Tehran would fiercely resist U.S. efforts to limit its influence in the Middle East.