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Trump to make decision on Iran deal in ‘coming days’

US President Donald Trump has railed against the Obama-era nuclear deal which offered Iran massive sanctions relief in return for curbs on its nuclear program

US President Donald Trump will reveal his decision on the future of the Iran nuclear deal in the coming days, the White House said Thursday.

“The president is going to make an announcement about the decision that he’s made on a comprehensive strategy that his team supports, and we’ll do that in the coming days,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Flying in the face of advice from some of his closest advisors, Trump is expected to withhold certification of Iran’s compliance with the agreement, effectively leaving its fate with Congress.

White House officials cautioned against rumors that Trump would make a speech revealing his decision next Thursday. But the decision must come by an October 15 deadline.

Trump has railed against the Obama-era deal which offered Iran massive sanctions relief in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

Ahead of the October 15 deadline, several officials familiar with White House deliberations told AFP Trump has made it clear he does not want to certify Iran’s compliance with the accord.

Every 90 days Trump must tell Congress whether Iran is living up to its end of the bargain, something that has already caused him political pain on two occasions.

The Trump administration has publicly accused Iran of violating the “spirit” of the accord — known as the JCPOA — although some officials privately admit there is a thin line between testing the limits and a material breach.

The administration has made it clear that it wants Iran to stop ballistic missile tests and stop “nefarious” behavior across the Middle East, two issues that were not part of the agreement.

Trump’s decision would have little impact in and of itself, but the Republican controlled Congress could decide, within 60 days, to impose sanctions, or simply not respond.

The build up to Trump’s decision has been dominated by intense debate inside the White House and fierce lobbying in Congress.

European ambassadors and diplomats have been camped out on Capitol Hill, trying to argue against any punitive actions that invite Iran to decide the United States in non-compliance.

Meanwhile the deal’s opponents, like Senator Tom Cotton have argued that Iran is not in compliance and sanctions and eve military action against Iran should be considered.

Cotton met Trump at the White House on Thursday to make his case, and the president was expected to meet military leaders later in the day.

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