Donald Trump set to 'decertify' 2015 Iran nuclear deal

AFP  Brendan Smialowski

AFP Brendan Smialowski

Iran's foreign minister on Wednesday warned of a tough response from Tehran if President Donald Trump presses ahead with his threats to scuttle the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

"If we pass the message that with every change of administration in Washington or elsewhere deals are thrown away and renegotiated, no one would negotiate with any administration ever and any deal would be exposed to be renegotiated every term".

Global inspectors say Iran is in technical compliance with the accord, but Trump says Tehran is in violation of the spirit of the agreement and has done nothing to rein in its ballistic missile program or its financial and military support for Hezbollah and other extremist groups.

A congressional source and a non-governmental source familiar with the matter said the White House was looking at a Friday announcement after scrapping a tentative plan for Thursday. Cardin's spokesman said the goal of the meeting was to go over the administration's plan for the nuclear deal.

As the legislative process grinds on with an eye to a January deadline by which the administration must decide whether to further extend sanctions relief to Iran, Mr Trump is also expected to instruct his national security team to step up pressure on the parties to the agreement to fix what he and deal opponents believe are its most serious deficiencies.

Rep. Elliot Engel, N.Y., the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he would consider modifying the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act so the president certifies Iran's compliance less frequently than every 90 days now, or using different standards.

House Democrats met earlier in the day with former secretary of state John Kerry and former energy secretary Ernest Moniz, who were the primary negotiators of the deal made between Iran and six world powers.

"If the feeling is that the United States no longer supports the agreement, then the political reality is that the agreement will be in serious jeopardy and its implementation will be very hard", a senior French diplomat said. "That ship has sailed", according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

She pointed to other worldwide agreements that the U.S. has abandoned but the rest of the world has remained committed to, including the Paris Agreement on climate change, and said, "What will happen would simply be that the USA will contravene a UNSC resolution and the rest of the world will stick to it".

Speaking at an worldwide conference on enhancing nuclear safety in Rome, Salehi said that Washington's recent "delusionary negative postures do not augur well" for keeping the deal intact.

"They got a path to nuclear weapons very quickly, and think of this one - $1.7 billion in cash", he said, in reference to a decision by the Obama administration to settle a decades-long legal claim with Iran as part of the deal. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said at the same hearing that the deal is still in the US national security interest.

"That means that while the French and others are also interested in curbing Iran's destabilizing activities, they may be less likely to follow (the U.S.) lead at the risk of the agreement blowing up", the official said. The administration also wants to impose penalties or limits for Iran's ballistic missile program and create a stronger enforcement mechanism for potential breaches of the deal.

The agreement contains specific restrictions on Iran's nuclear program that will expire after predetermined periods of time.

Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., have been working for months hashing out a package to present to Congress, only recently bringing in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Sen.

But Iranian officials have already ruled out any renegotiation of the deal. "Once it was entered into, once it was implemented, we want to see it enforced".

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