Trump to rip Iran and question deal, aides say
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump plans to deliver a broad and harsh critique of Iran in a speech Friday declaring that the landmark Iran nuclear deal is not in America’s national-security interests, according to U.S. officials and outside advisers to the administration.
Trump’s speech from the White House will outline specific faults he finds in the 2015 accord, but it also will focus on an array of Iran’s troubling non-nuclear activities, four officials and advisers said. Those activities include Tehran’s ballistic-missile program and its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and other groups that destabilize the region.
Under U.S. law, Trump faces a Sunday deadline to notify Congress whether Iran is complying with the accord and to determine whether it remains a national-security priority. Although Trump intends to say that Iran is living up to the letter of the agreement, which was painstakingly negotiated by the Obama administration over 18 months, the president will make the case that the deal is fatally flawed and that Tehran’s non-nuclear behavior violates the spirit of the regional stability the deal was intended to encourage, the officials and advisers said.
The officials and advisers, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly preview the speech, said Trump will not call for a reimposition of nuclear sanctions on Tehran.
He will instead urge lawmakers to codify tough new requirements for Tehran to meet if it wants to continue to benefit from the sanctions relief it won in exchange for curbing its atomic program. And he will announce his long-anticipated intent to impose sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps by designating it a terrorist organization under an existing executive order, according to the officials and advisers.
In addition, Trump will ask Congress to amend or replace outright the legislation that requires him to certify Iranian compliance every 90 days. Officials have said that Trump hates the requirement more than the nuclear deal itself because it forces him to take a position every three months on what he has denounced as the worst deal in American history.
At the White House, Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, confirmed the president would announce the results of his Iran-policy review on Friday.