Trump expected to decertify Iran nuclear deal

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US president will open the door for Congress to reimpose sanctions on Iran, officials say

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at military parade in Tehran, 22 September (Reuters)
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Friday 6 October 2017 2:36 UTC
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President Donald Trump is expected to announce soon that he will decertify the landmark international deal to curb Iran's nuclear programme, a senior administration official told Reuters on Thursday, in a step that could lead to renewed US sanctions against Tehran.

The decision on the nuclear deal is expected to be only part of what Trump will announce, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official said Trump is also expected to roll out a broader US strategy on Iran that would be more confrontational. The Trump administration has frequently criticised Iran's conduct in the Middle East.

If Trump declines to certify Iran's compliance with the accord, US congressional leaders would have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran suspended under the agreement.

The Washington Post also reported that Trump will move to decertify the deal, citing four unidentified officials. It said the US president will push to aggressively modify the nuclear agreement without recommending new sanctions.

They have not lived up to the spirit of their agreement.

-Donald Trump

Trump has long decried the Iran nuclear pact, a signature foreign policy achievement of his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, and signed in 2015 by the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, the European Union and Iran.

Trump said on Thursday that Iran had not lived up to the spirit of the nuclear deal and suggested he would reveal his decision on whether to certify the agreement soon.

"We must not allow Iran ... to obtain nuclear weapons," Trump said during a meeting with military leaders at the White House.

"The Iranian regime supports terrorism and exports violence, bloodshed and chaos across the Middle East. That is why we must put an end to Iran's continued aggression and nuclear ambitions. They have not lived up to the spirit of their agreement," he said.

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Asked about his decision on whether to certify or decertify the landmark nuclear deal, Trump said: "You'll be hearing about Iran very shortly."

In April, the administration said it would review whether the lifting of sanctions against Iran was in the US national security interest. Trump is weighing a strategy that may allow more confrontational responses to Iran's forces and its proxies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

An official previously said the administration was considering 12 October for Trump to give a speech on Iran, but no final decision had been made.

Supporters of the deal say its collapse could trigger a regional arms race and worsen Middle East tensions. Opponents say it went too far in easing sanctions without requiring that Iran end its nuclear programme permanently.

On Tuesday, US Defence Secretary James Mattis told Congress that it is in US national security interests to remain in the agreement.