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Trump says Iran deal decision coming 'very shortly'

12 October 2017

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.

Trump is widely expected to make a speech Thursday laying out a new Iran strategy and decertifying the country's compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. Representative Ed Royce, Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the Trump administration should preserve the deal to protect U.S. national security, even though he opposed the deal at the time.

Several of Obama's fellow Democrats also opposed the deal, including Representative Eliot Engel, the ranking Democrat on the foreign affairs panel.

Trump has until Sunday to notify Congress whether Iran remains in compliance with the accord.

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The U.S. will need to work with Britain, France and Germany - all parties to the Iran nuclear pact - to fix its flaws and those countries need to know that the U.S.is a reliable partner, according to Engel.

In mid-July, the Post says, a "furious" Trump argued with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and others who said while the 2015 deal, brokered by former President Barack Obama, was not ideal, it offered stability. Under that pact, Iran agreed to freeze its nuclear program for 15 years in exchange for sanctions relief.

Engel said at the hearing that killing the deal would be a "grave mistake", since it is in place and backed by USA allies and other powers. "They could race headlong toward a nuclear bomb, hold all of the benefits of sanctions relief, and continue fomenting instability across the region".

If Congress does not act, however, it would leave the agreement in place.

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If Trump does decertify the accord as expected, it would put him at odds with Defense Secretary James Mattis, who last week said Tehran was "fundamentally" in compliance with the agreement and that the US should stick with the pact. If the president doesn't certify compliance with the requirements, Congress has 60 days to decide whether to re-impose or "snap back" sanctions lifted under the agreement.

Speaking at the White House Wednesday, Trump did not discuss specific timing but told reporters: "You're going to see very soon".

Republican legislators began drawing up new versions of the law that remove the 90-day timetable and replace it with "semi-annual" certifications, according to the officials.

Trump has called the deal forged during the Obama administration one of the nation's "worst and most one-sided transactions" ever and threatened during the presidential campaign to tear the pact up.

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Trump says Iran deal decision coming 'very shortly'