Trump resists pressure to soften stance on Iran
WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump finds himself under immense pressure as he considers de-certifying the international nuclear deal with Iran, a move that would ignore warnings from inside and outside his administration that to do so would risk undermining US credibility.
Trump is expected to unveil a broad strategy on confronting Iran this week, likely on Friday. There was always the chance he could still have a last-minute change of heart and certify Iran’s compliance with the 2015 accord, which he has called an “embarrassment” and the “worst deal ever negotiated.”
Senior US officials, European allies and prominent US lawmakers have told Trump that refusing to certify the deal would leave the US isolated, concede the diplomatic high ground to Tehran, and ultimately risk the unraveling of the agreement.
Signed by the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, the European Union and Iran, the deal relieved sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbing its disputed nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concluded that Iran secretly researched a nuclear war- head until 2009, which Tehran denies. Iran has always insisted that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and denies it has aimed to build an atomic bomb.
After Trump made clear three months ago he would not certify Iran’s compliance with the deal, his advisers moved to give him options to consider, a senior administration official said. “They came up with a plan that protects the things they are concerned about but doesn’t recertify, which the president made clear he was not going to do. That ship has sailed,” according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The official said Trump has been telling foreign leaders and US lawmakers that his refusal to certify the Iran deal would not blow it up.