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Trump strikes blow at Iran nuclear deal in major U.S. policy shift

From Reuters - October 13, 2017

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump struck a blow against the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement on Friday in defiance of other world powers, choosing not to certify that Tehran is complying with the deal and warning he might ultimately terminate it.

Trump announced the major shift in U.S. policy in a speech in which he detailed a more confrontational approach to Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and its support for extremist groups in the Middle East.

Trump accused Iran of not living up to the spirit of the nuclear agreement and said his goal is to ensure Tehran never obtains a nuclear weapon. He suggested Iran might be working with North Korea on its weapons programs, an accusation that has not been substantiated.

We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence more terror and the very real threat of Irans nuclear breakout, Trump said.

While Trump did not pull the United States out of the agreement, aimed at preventing Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, he gave the U.S. Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran that were lifted under the pact.

That increases tension with Iran as well as putting Washington at odds with other signatories of the accord such as Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union.

If Congress reimposes the sanctions, the United States would in effect be in violation of the terms of the nuclear deal and it would likely fall apart. If lawmakers do nothing, the deal remains in place.

NEW WARNING

Trump warned that if we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated.

Trumps harder line on Iran was likely to infuriate Tehran but was welcomed by Israel.

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