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Trump expected to decertify Iran nuclear deal, official says

Trump expected to decertify Iran nuclear deal, official says
From Reuters - October 5, 2017

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump is expected to announce soon that he will decertify the landmark international deal to curb Irans nuclear program, a senior administration official said on Thursday, in a step that potentially could cause the 2015 accord to unravel.

Trump has been weighing whether the pact, which he has called an embarrassment, serves U.S. security interests as he faces an Oct. 15 deadline for certifying that Iran is complying with it.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Trump is also expected to roll out a broader U.S. strategy on Iran that would be more confrontational. The Trump administration has frequently criticized Irans conduct in the Middle East.

If Trump declines to certify Irans compliance, U.S. congressional leaders would have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran suspended under the agreement.

The Washington Post first reported Trumps plans to say that he will decertify the deal.

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

Many of Trumps fellow Republicans who control Congress also have been critical of the deal, whereas the other powers that signed it strongly support it.

Supporters say its collapse could trigger a regional arms race and worsen Middle East tensions, while opponents say it went too far in easing sanctions without requiring that Iran end its nuclear program permanently.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of Trump, last month said that unless provisions in the accord removing restrictions on Irans nuclear program over time are eliminated, it should be canceled.

Fix it, or nix it, Netanyahu said in a speech at the U.N. General Assembly annual gathering of world leaders on Sept. 19.

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