Trump to announce decision on Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has appealed to US President Donald Trump not to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement, saying the deal had weaknesses but they could be addressed given time.
Visitors and employees attend the Iran Oil, Gas, and Petrochemical International Exhibition in Tehran, Iran, on May 6, 2018.
Visitors and employees attend the Iran Oil, Gas, and Petrochemical International Exhibition in Tehran, Iran, on May 6, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US President Donald Trump said he would announce a decision on the future of the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday (May 8) as European countries piled pressure on Washington to remain in the 2015 agreement.

Trump has threatened to withdraw from the deal, which provided Iran with relief from economic sanctions in exchange for limiting its uranium enrichment capacity, unless European signatories to the accord fix what he has called its shortcomings.

"I will be announcing my decision on the Iran Deal tomorrow from the White House at 2:00pm," Trump said in a Twitter post on Monday (May 7).

Trump has until May 12 to decide whether to reintroduce US sanctions on Iran, which would deal a heavy blow to the agreement.

Under the agreement with the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, Iran strictly limited uranium enrichment capacity to try to show that it was not trying to develop atomic bombs.

In exchange, Iran received relief from economic sanctions.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hinted on Monday that Iran could remain in the nuclear accord even if the United States dropped out, but said that Tehran would fiercely resist US pressure to limit its influence in the Middle East.

 

Rouhani said the Islamic Republic had been preparing for every possible scenario, including a deal without Washington - which would still include the other signatories that remain committed to it – or no deal at all. 

“We are not worried about America’s cruel decisions...We are prepared for all scenarios and no change will occur in our lives next week,” Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state TV. 

“If we can get what we want from a deal without America, then Iran will continue to remain committed to the deal. What Iran wants is our interests to be guaranteed by its non-American signatories ... In that case, getting rid of America’s mischievous presence will be fine for Iran.”

Britain, France and Germany remain committed to the accord and, in an effort to address US complaints, want to open talks on Iran’s ballistic missile programme, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 – when pivotal provisions of the deal expire – and its role in the wars in Syria and Yemen. 

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, in Washington for talks this week, said the deal had weaknesses but these could be remedied. 

“At this moment Britain is working alongside the Trump administration and our French and German allies to ensure that they are,” he said in a commentary in the New York Times. 

Johnson met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence on Monday.