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Iran nuclear deal: Donald Trump 'decertifies' 2015 pact

From Al Jazeera - October 13, 2017

US President Donald Trump has refused to certify Iran's compliance with a landmark 2015 deal curtailing Tehran's nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

Trump - who opposed the agreement between Iran and world powers, including the US, from the outset - on Friday said that Iran was not living up to the spirit of the accord, despite the UN nuclear watchdog repeatedly confirming that the country was complying with its obligations.

"As I have said many times, the Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the US has ever entered into,"Trump saidduring a speech from the White House.

"What is the purpose of a deal that, at best, only delays Iran's nuclear capability for a short period of time? This, as president of the US, is unacceptable."

Trump's move does not immediately pull the US out of the deal but pushes action to the US Congress.

Legislators now have a non-binding 60-day period to debate the accord and decide whether to re-impose sanctions, which would put the deal at risk.

Trump said that if "we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated", adding that the US will impose tough sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran's main military force.

US isolation?

Under 2015'sJoint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also signed by Britain, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union, Tehran agreed to restrict its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of most international sanctions that had crippled its economy.

But in the US, opponents of the deal passed legislation requiring the country's president to certify every 90 days that Iran is upholding its part of the agreement.

Trump had already recertified the deal twice since his inauguration in January. But his move on Friday means that Congress can now restore sanctions withdrawn under the 2015 agreement, or introduce new ones within 60 days of the current certification expiring.

The threat of new sanctions has drawn criticism from Iran, which has threatened to withdraw partially or completely from the deal if new penalising measures were imposed.

Iranian officials say the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency is the only authority for verifying Iran's compliance.

Before Trump's speech, Tehran said it would retaliate against any action targeting its armed forces, including the Revolutionary Guards.

"The Iranian government has been very clear that it will not tolerate any change to the nuclear agreement," Al Jazeera'sZein Basravi, reporting from Tehran, said.

"They will not tolerate any sanctions or targeting of its Revolutionary Guard," he added.

US allies, such as the UK and France, had also urged Washington to not jeopardise the deal, with analysts warning Trump's actions could affect his country's standing abroad.

Congress to decide

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