Trump lays out Iran strategy

- By MATTHEW LEE
AP Diplomatic Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump on Friday angrily accused Iran of violating the spirit of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, accusing it of a long list of malign behavior and hitting its main military wing with terrorism sanctions. But Trump, breaking with a campaign pledge to rip up the agreement, said he was not yet ready to pull the U.S. out or re-impose nuclear sanctions.

Instead, he kicked the issue to Congress and the other parties to the seven-nation accord, telling lawmakers to toughen the law that governs U.S. participation and to fix a series of deficiencies in the agreement. Those include the expiration of several key restrictions under "sunset provisions" that begin to kick in in 2025, he said.

Trump warned that without the fixes, he would likely pull the U.S. out of the deal and snap previously lifted sanctions back into place.

Without improvements, he said in a White House speech, "the agreement will be terminated."

"It is under continuous review and our participation can be canceled by me as president at any time," he said.

 

The Latest on the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal (all times local):

1:22 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he will not re-certify the Iran nuclear deal because the country is not living up to the spirit of the deal and has committed "multiple violations."

Trump says during a White House speech Friday that he "cannot and will not make this certification."

Trump says he is directing his administration to work closely with Congress to address the deal's "many flaws" and to make sure the country can never threaten the U.S. with nuclear weapons.

He says that if Congress can't come up with new legislation, he will terminate the Obama-era pact.

Any decision to re-impose nuclear-related sanctions would automatically kill America's participation in the deal.

Trump's move is essentially a compromise that allows him to condemn the accord but stop short of torpedoing it.

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1:18 p.m.

The Trump administration is hitting Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard with sanctions for supporting terrorism.

The new designation uses existing sanctions authority created by an executive order in 2001. The Treasury Department says the penalties are punishment for supporting the Quds force, an expeditionary unit of the Revolutionary Guard. The Treasury Department also says the Revolutionary Guard has supported lethal activities by Hezbollah and Hamas, and enabled Syrian President Bashar Assad's "relentless campaign of brutal violence against his own people."

But the U.S. is not adding the Revolutionary Guard to the formal U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations. That step would force the U.S. to take even further steps against the Revolutionary Guard that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says could be problematic.

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1:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump says Iran is not living up to the "spirit" of the nuclear deal that it signed in 2015. He's announcing a new strategy in a speech at the White House.

Trump says the administration will seek to counter the regime's destabilizing activities and will impose additional sanctions on the regime to block its financing of terrorism.

The president says the new strategy will also seek to address the proliferation of Iran's missiles and weapons.

And he says the U.S. will deny Iran's paths to develop nuclear weapons.

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1:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump is criticizing the Iran nuclear deal as he discusses his administration's approach going forward.

Trump says in a White House speech that the deal was "one of the worst" and most "one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into."

Trump is arguing the sanctions lifted by the deal gave the country's leaders a "lifeline" when they were in financial trouble.

And he says the deal delivered weak inspections in exchange for no more than a temporary delay in Iran's path to nuclear weapons.

Trump is giving a speech unveiling his administration's new strategy for dealing with the country.

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1 p.m.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says he'll be introducing legislation in the next two weeks that will address the international agreement that rolled back Iran's nuclear program.

Sen. Bob Corker says the bill won't violate the U.S. commitment to the nuclear deal. He says the measure requires the president to certify to Congress twice a year instead of every 90 days that Iran is complying with the pact. President Donald Trump has bristled over the frequency of the certifications.

The Tennessee Republican says the legislation would reinstitute U.S. sanctions against Iran if Tehran gets within one year of having nuclear weapons. The measure also expands the "verification powers" of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

He says he's working with Republican Sen. Tom Cotton on the legislation.

2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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