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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Thursday, October 19, 2017

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Iran nuclear deal hangs in balance, Trump to reveal plans

UN nuclear watchdog has found Iran in compliance

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WASHINGTON, U.S. - With Trump facing an October 15 deadline to tell Congress if he believes Iran is complying with the seven-nation landmark 2015 nuclear agreement - he is set to make a speech in Washington.

While the location of the speech has not been set yet, Trump is expected to announce his secret decision on the future of the Iran nuclear deal on October 12.

On Wednesday, U.S. officials familiar with the president’s planning said he is preparing to deliver an Iran policy speech in which he is expected to declare the landmark 2015 agreement contrary to America’s national security interests.

The White House has not made an official statement so far.

The 2015 deal forced Iran to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for broad relief from international economic sanctions.

Trump has called the deal one of the nation’s “worst and most one-sided transactions” ever. 

However, several of his top national security aides don’t want to dismantle the deal.

America’s European allies too have lobbied the Trump administration heavily not to walk away from the agreement.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters, “We’re going to give him a couple of options of how to move forward to advance the important policy toward Iran.”

Tillerson insisted that the Iran deal comprised “only a small part” of the government’s approach to Iran.

The UN nuclear watchdog has found Iran in compliance.

Tillerson also suggested that whatever path the United States chooses on the nuclear accord known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it would only represent one component of America’s broader policy toward Iran.

He said, “The JCPOA represents only a small part of the many issues that we need to deal with when it comes to the Iranian relationship. So it is an important part of that, but is not the only part. And I’ve said many times, we cannot let the Iranian relationship be defined solely by that nuclear agreement.”

However, Trump and other officials, including Tillerson, have said Iran is violating the spirit of the agreement.

The reason - its continues tests of ballistic missiles, threats to U.S. allies in the Middle East, and support for U.S.-designated terrorist organizations and Syria’s government.

Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that Iran “is not in material breach of the agreement.” 

At the same hearing, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he believed the deal is still in the U.S. national security interest.

Mattis also hinted Trump might try to decertify without breaking the deal.

He said, “You can talk about the conditions under one of those, and not walk away from the other.”

 

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