Trump resists pressure to soften stance on Iran nuclear deal

FILE PHOTO: Iranian workers stand in front of Bushehr nuclear power plant, 1,200 km south of Tehran
FILE PHOTO: Iranian workers stand in front of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, about 1,200 km (746 miles) south of Tehran October 26, 2010. REUTERS/Mehr News Agency/Majid Asgaripour/File Photo

October 12, 2017

By Steve Holland and John Walcott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump finds himself under immense pressure as he considers de-certifying the international nuclear deal with Iran, a move that would ignore warnings from inside and outside his administration that to do so would risk undermining U.S. credibility.

Trump is expected to unveil a broad strategy on confronting Iran this week, likely on Friday. There was always the chance he could still have a last-minute change of heart and certify Iran’s compliance with the 2015 accord, which he has called an “embarrassment” and the “worst deal ever negotiated.”

Senior U.S. officials, European allies and prominent U.S. lawmakers have told Trump that refusing to certify the deal would leave the U.S. isolated, concede the diplomatic high ground to Tehran, and ultimately risk the unraveling of the agreement.

Signed by the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, the European Union and Iran, the deal relieved sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbing its disputed nuclear program.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concluded that Iran secretly researched a nuclear warhead until 2009, which Tehran denies. Iran has always insisted that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and denies it has aimed to build an atomic bomb.

After Trump made clear three months ago he would not certify Iran’s compliance with the deal, his advisers moved to give him options to consider, a senior administration official said.

“They came up with a plan that protects the things they are concerned about but doesn’t recertify, which the president made clear he was not going to do. That ship has sailed,” according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official said Trump has been telling foreign leaders and U.S. lawmakers that his refusal to certify the Iran deal would not blow it up.

“He’s not walking away from it. The chances of him walking away from it go down if they work with him on making it better,” the official said.

White House officials said Trump is expected to announce a broad, more confrontational policy toward Iran directed at curbing its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and financial and military support for Hezbollah and other extremist groups.

Trump has said he believes the nuclear deal is too generous toward Iran and would not stop it from trying to develop a nuclear weapon.

He has criticized the agreement’s “sunset clauses,” under which some restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program would expire over time. He also wants to toughen language on ballistic missiles and inspections. The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran is complying with the agreement.

NO RENEGOTIATION

European officials have categorically ruled out renegotiating the deal, but have said they share Trump’s concerns over Iran’s destabilizing influence in the Middle East.

Several diplomats have said Europe would be ready to discuss sanctioning Iran’s ballistic missile tests and forming a strategy to curb Iran’s influence in the region.

Officials have also said there could be room to open a new negotiation for what happens once some of the core terms of the deal begin expiring in 2025, although there is no reason to believe Iran would be ready to enter in such a negotiation. Iran has said it may exit the deal if the U.S. withdraws.

De-certifying would not withdraw the United States from the deal but it would give the U.S. Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose the sanctions on Tehran that were suspended under the agreement.

One U.S. official involved in administration said that declining to certify Iran’s compliance would probably leave all of the parties to the deal on one side and the United States on the other.

“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.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron both spoke to Trump this week to express their concerns about the potential decision not to recertify the Iran deal.

“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 difficult,” a senior French diplomat said.

Two other U.S. officials, who also requested anonymity, said Trump’s bellicose rhetoric on a number of fronts is troubling both many of his own aides and some of America’s closest allies, a few of whom have asked U.S. officials privately if Trump’s real objective is attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities.

One of the officials said that like the heated rhetoric with North Korea on its nuclear program, the Iran discussion has vexed White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “who have tried to advise the President that there are significant risks in the course he’d prefer to pursue.”

“At the end of the day, though, everyone recognizes that he’s the decider.”

Trump allies who oppose the deal have watched the president closely to see if he might buckle under pressure.

    “He’s not going to re-certify,” said Sebastian Gorka, a former Trump national security aide. “I’m not worried. His gut instinct is absolutely right.”

(Reporting by Steve Holland and John Walcott; additional reporting by John Irish in Paris; Editing by Caren Bohan, Yara Bayoumy and Grant McCool)

  • Numerical Logic

    Okay, got that one.

  • Numerical Logic

    Alright…when you reply to me I don’t get the notification.

  • Numerical Logic

    Okay, I’m being serious. Who are you talking about??

  • Numerical Logic

    Who and why not?

  • All American

    My brother was actually taken when the first tower collapsed.
    Blocking you

  • Bangkok Taxi

    Trump has a very good mind and knows more than his generals plus he knows things no one else does

  • Joe Michael

    We don’t have any political influence now. Listen to the Iran leaders. We have big bomb influence though which they understand perfectly. Thats what they are trying to acquire. Israel will shake their timbers if they get anywhere close as NK.

  • Javanne

    As usual, Trump is right, assuming he goes through with the de-certification. Hey, Congress! You have been pushing for more sanctions on Iran (correctly). Now, put your money where your mouth is. I hope you don’t show that was as phony as your health care exhortations proved to be.

  • Hottotrote

    May and Macron had best get a back bone or they are not going to have countries to lead! Their country’s leaders have proven that they are not advocates of freedom or of citizen’s safety! Listening to any leader in Europe right now would be suicide to the American people!
    Europe leaders have made it clear they are all about the money…..We The People are tired of supporting the European power freaks!
    “British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron both spoke to Trump this week to express their concerns about the potential decision not to recertify the Iran deal.”

  • Hottotrote

    What creditability? The deal was illegal! How can an illegal deal be credible in the first place. I want names of people who call an illegal agreement creditable. They are the moles and traitors to everything we hold dear!

  • Lord Cornbread

    European business whores without ethics morals or values line up to create the next nuclear madmen.

    • Bangkok Taxi

      Very imaginative. A bit psychotic perhaps, but imaginative nonetheless less.
      Nuclear madman—- Donnie TwoScoops.

      • TrollSlayer

        Born stupid?

        • Bangkok Taxi

          Seems like Troll Slayer is what you wrote on your Alzheimer’s medication.
          Good night Grandpa.

          • TrollSlayer

            Yep, you are slayed!! wimp.

      • Hottotrote

        Insanity is where one is different from the norm and norm is based on majority so, you are the only one spouting liberal BS here so you are the one that is insane!

        • Bangkok Taxi

          You thought that up all by yourself didn’t you?
          I’ll bet you are good at inventing your own words also.

      • Joe Michael

        Gosh almighty! How do you come up with all the grand arguments and witticisms to crush us lowly beings with?

        • Bangkok Taxi

          You are crushed ? Wow. That was easier than I thought.
          Are you speaking for yourself? Or do you have a gerbil up your butt?

  • Tom Tom

    Obama and his henchmen will probably lose their cushy little transparent backroom deals if the Iran agreement is rescinded. That’s be a lot of empty pockets.

    • Lord Cornbread

      Lurch will have to start paying to suck the ayatollahs c*ck now.

    • Bangkok Taxi

      Shiny tinfoil you got there.

      • TrollSlayer

        Speak for yourself troll.

      • Hottotrote

        Are you saying they will keep their cushy deals? Hummm!!!!! You back selling out the USA! Your true colors are showing!

        • TrollSlayer

          It’s a tranny troll. Just flag it.

        • Bangkok Taxi

          I think you are confused as to what party is up to what.
          Case in point Exxon Rex Tillerson. Russian friendship medal. Billions in oil deals for the Russian.

          • Joe Michael

            Please unconfuse me! I am just amaised at your brilliance!

          • Bangkok Taxi

            I just laid it out in plain text. If that’s what passes for brilliance in your life I suggest you go back to grade school.

  • All American

    Iran is a radical muslim country and they breed terrorists. The agreement made is clearly “no deal”⬇️ Let the EU breast feed Iran!

    • Bangkok Taxi

      Can you please inform us as to where the 9/11 hijackers came from?

      • TrollSlayer

        How about telling us how you became dumb and stupid?

      • Hottotrote

        The middle east where all terrorists are made! Didn’t you know that?

        • Numerical Logic

          No because all they do is google things, probably use Wikipedia.

      • deadandwicked

        9/11 hijackers have nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. What kind of question is that you retarded idiot?

        • Bangkok Taxi

          Hello OAN moderator. About your comment policy….

      • All American

        I speak of current events not thise that occurred 16 years ago. The times are a changin👍🏻

  • Numerical Logic

    How was this posted on Oct. 12 when it’s Oct. 11? Why do most all the articles they put up have the date of the next day?

    • All American

      Ya strange CA is usually behind the times

      • Numerical Logic

        Ah, got you.

        • All American

          You give the urge for a piece of pi

          • Numerical Logic

            Haha. I guess I do.

          • All American

            😉yes

          • Numerical Logic

            Hey, you are private I cannot follow you.

          • All American

            Hey, no I thought that I turned it off?

          • Numerical Logic

            Na, I still can’t follow you. It says “This user is private. Deal with it.”

          • All American

            Humh!?

          • Numerical Logic

            Yeah, when I click on your pic. to follow you it says you’re private.

          • All American

            I did it too pi👍🏻

          • wendell

            Hey young lady!! Not a good idea to leave your account open. You do what you want, but you have opened up yourself to being hacked and have trolls follow and harass you. I would tell Numerical Logic to follow you so you can close your avatar back. Just a friend giving advice.

          • Numerical Logic

            I am a female. If trolls do follow you can you not block them or something?

          • wendell

            Sorry, I didn’t know you were a young lady also. Good to meet you. Blocking will not stop them from going where you go. Leaving your account open to the public makes it very easy for trolls to send more trolls after you. It can become a nightmare. Don’t ask me how I know. You can follow each other while staying private. You only need to open to allow someone to follow then close it back.
            This site is getting infested with more and more trolls everyday. There is also a lib troll that has infested the mod team so beware

          • Numerical Logic

            Oh wow. Thanks you for informing me on that! I appreciate it. 🙂

          • wendell

            No problem. If I could put links, I would have so you can see what I am saying for yourself but they don’t allow us to post links.
            Again, Good to meet you!! I’ve known All American for some time now but it’s always good to meet likeminded people. Have a great day!!

          • Numerical Logic

            Thanks, you as well!

          • All American

            Done! Thanks😘

          • Numerical Logic

            Hey, thanks for following me! 😉

          • All American

            Pi aa = 💡

          • Numerical Logic

            Are you private for a reason?

    • I. Forgot 2

      They are not using regular time. They are using UTC time.

      • Numerical Logic

        Ah. Okay

      • All American

        Ya different

  • ipsprez

    Don’t you just love all the swamp rats and European weasels whining about Trump being willing to try something new seeing as nothing has worked so far.

    • All American

      Well we can see clearly what a scam the EU is PU🤢

    • Bangkok Taxi

      Swamp rats and European weasels.
      You’d make a fine diplomat.

      • TrollSlayer

        You are a failure of a troll.

        • Bangkok Taxi

          Hook, line and sinker.
          Next!

          • TrollSlayer

            Truth hurts eh failure??

      • Hottotrote

        If being a “diplomat” means we have to give up or tax dollars, our freedom for their non-binding agreements then being a “diplomat’ is being a traitor to the USA!

        • Bangkok Taxi

          Ah I see your a checkers champ. This isn’t checkers, no matter how much you insist it is.

      • Joe Michael

        What would you call them? Friends?

        • Bangkok Taxi

          In the grown up world, grown up legislators law makers diiplomats and many dedicated people working in service for you and I , in our govt , don’t go around calling those same people form other nations school yard names.

          It’s part of being adult.

          • Joe Michael

            Damn! Thanks dad!