Trump won’t pull out of ‘worst’ Iran nuclear deal for now


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

President Donald Trump on Friday angrily accused Iran of violating the landmark 2015 international nuclear accord, blaming the Iranians for a litany of sinister behavior and hitting their main military wing with anti-terror penalties. But Trump, breaking his campaign pledge to rip up the agreement, did not pull the U.S. out or re-impose nuclear sanctions.

He still might, he was quick to add.

For now, he’s tossing the issue to Congress and the other nations in the seven-country accord, telling lawmakers to toughen the law that governs U.S. participation and calling on the other parties to fix a series of deficiencies.

Those include the scheduled expiration of key restrictions under “sunset provisions” that begin to kick in in 2025, as well as the omission of provisions on ballistic-missile testing and terrorism.

Without the fixes, Trump warned, he would likely pull the U.S. out of the deal – which he has called the worst in U.S. history – and slap previously lifted U.S. sanctions back into place. That would probably be a fatal blow for the seven-party accord.

“Our participation can be canceled by me, as president, at any time,” Trump declared in a carefully delivered speech read from a teleprompter in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House.

He added later, speaking of Congress, “They may come back with something that’s very satisfactory to me, and if they don’t, within a very short period of time, I’ll terminate the deal.”

Under U.S. law, Trump faces a Sunday deadline to certify to Congress whether Iran is complying with the accord. That notification must take place every 90 days, a timetable that Trump detests. Since taking office, he has twice reluctantly certified that Iran is fulfilling its commitments.

On Friday, he said he would not do so again.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan criticized President Donald Trump to not certify the Iran Nuclear Agreement.

Ryan of Howland, D-13th, said: “The president’s announcement is yet another example of the egregious mismanagement of our foreign policy, and does nothing to reassure our allies that the United States is leading with a steady hand.”

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Marietta, R-6th, said, “It is clear that a new, comprehensive strategy is vital to preventing Iran from ever creating or acquiring nuclear weapons and checking its regional aggression.”

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from the Cincinnati area, said in a statement, “This deeply-flawed agreement, which was opposed by a bipartisan majority in the Senate, has empowered Iran to increase its destabilizing activities throughout the region, while at best pausing – not dismantling – Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons and delivery systems.”

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Cleveland, said in his statement, “There is no question we must crack down on Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region, including its support for terrorism – which is exactly why Congress enacted tough new sanctions this summer. The president should use those sanctions, instead of leading us down a path toward unraveling the Iran nuclear agreement, which his own defense secretary has said would not be in our national interest.”

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