Trump re­sists pres­sure on Iran nu­clear deal

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump faces con­sid­er­able pres­sure from in­side and out­side his ad­min­is­tra­tion as he con­sid­ers de-cer­ti­fy­ing the in­ter­na­tional nu­clear deal with Iran. Mean­while, some still think Trump could have a last-minute change of heart.

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 U.S. cred­i­bil­ity.

Trump is ex­pected to un­veil a broad strat­egy on con­fronting Iran this week, likely to­day. 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 U.S. of­fi­cials, Euro­pean al­lies and prom­i­nent U.S. law­mak­ers have told Trump that re­fus­ing to cer­tify the deal would leave the U.S. 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 giv­ing up its nu­clear weapons pro­gram.

After Trump made clear three months ago he would not cer­tify Iran’s com­pli­ance, 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 U.S. law­mak­ers that his re­fusal to cer­tify the Iran deal would not blow it up. “He’s not walk­ing away from it. The chances of him walk­ing away from it go down if they work with him on mak­ing it bet­ter,” the of­fi­cial said.

White House of­fi­cials said Trump is ex­pected to an­nounce a broad, more con­fronta­tional pol­icy to­ward Iran di­rected at curb­ing its nu­clear and bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­grams and fi­nan­cial and mil­i­tary sup­port for Hezbol­lah and other ex­trem­ist groups.

Trump has said he be­lieves the nu­clear deal is too gen­er­ous to­ward Iran and would not stop it from try­ing to de­velop a nu­clear weapon.

He has crit­i­cized the agree­ment’s “sun­set clauses,” un­der which some re­stric­tions on Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram would ex­pire over time. He also wants to toughen lan­guage on bal­lis­tic mis­siles and in­spec­tions. The In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency says Iran is com­ply­ing with the agree­ment.

Euro­pean of­fi­cials have cat­e­gor­i­cally ruled out rene­go­ti­at­ing the deal, but have said they share Trump’s con­cerns over Iran’s desta­bi­liz­ing in­flu­ence in the Mid­dle East. Sev­eral diplo­mats have said Europe would be ready to dis­cuss sanc­tion­ing Iran’s bal­lis­tic mis­sile tests and form­ing a strat­egy to curb Iran’s in­flu­ence in the re­gion.

Of­fi­cials have also said there could be room to open a new ne­go­ti­a­tion for what hap­pens once some of the core terms of the deal be­gin ex­pir­ing in 2025, although there is no rea­son to be­lieve Iran would be ready to en­ter in such a ne­go­ti­a­tion. Iran has said it may exit the deal if the U.S. with­draws. De-cer­ti­fy­ing would not with­draw the United States from the deal but it would give the U.S. Congress 60 days to de­cide whether to reim­pose the sanc­tions on Tehran that were sus­pended un­der the agree­ment.

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