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Trump again blasts Iran nuke deal as certification decision looms

12 October 2017

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Monday told reporters that Berlin remains concerned about Iran's behavior in the Middle East and its missile development program, but stressed that Tehran was sticking to the nuclear agreement.

Both British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron used the United Nations General Assembly in September to try and change the 71-year-old USA leader's mind on Iran - to little effect. With Iran not having violated the deal, Trump's efforts to kill it are fueling a lot of reaction at home and overseas. Engel, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, said unwinding the agreement would send a unsafe signal to allies and adversaries alike.

China, France, Russia, Germany, Britain and the European Union all ratified the deal.

As the legislative process grinds on with an eye to a January deadline by which the administration must decide whether to further extend sanctions relief to Iran, Trump is also expected to instruct his national security team to step up pressure on the parties to the agreement to fix what he and deal opponents believe are its most serious deficiencies. "We are looking for dialogue, to explain our arguments and why in our opinion the Iranian deal is a success".

Some top figures in Congress are already deeply skeptical of the Trump effort to kill the deal, with Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) saying the United States should "enforce the hell out of it" instead.

Sherman said if the deal is renounced, Iran gets to keep all the money and also is freed from the restraints imposed by the agreement.

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Trump, who has been sharply critical of Iran and accused Tehran of working with North Korea on lethal weapons, faces an October 15 deadline on whether to certify to Congress that Iran is compliance with the terms of the nuclear agreement.

Several US officials have said Trump might this time choose not certify the accord.

"We will see what happens pretty soon", said Trump, who must announce his decision on whether to certify Iran's compliance by the end of the week.

Trump detests the certification requirement, which forces him to sign off every three months on an accord he has called the worst deal ever negotiated by America, according to the officials. "That ship has sailed", according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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.

David Patrikarakos, a journalist and author of the book "Nuclear Iran: The Birth of an Atomic State", said that the 2015 deal was "that rarest of things: a concrete result of European unity".

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Trump threatened during the presidential campaign to tear the pact up if he was elected. Tom Cotton, would expand the USA certification criteria to include items that are also the province of the United Nations nuclear watchdog and require the US intelligence community to determine if Iran is carrying out illicit activity in facilities to which the International Atomic Energy Agency does not have access.

Thierry Coville, an analyst at the Institute of global and Strategic Relations (IRIS) in Paris, said he expected the Europeans to club together with Russian Federation and China, the other two powers who helped craft the deal.

More than 180 House Democrats sent a letter to Trump last week calling on him to certify compliance unless he could produce "credible evidence of a material breach by Iran".

Congress was broadly opposed to the deal two years ago, but it's not clear that's the case anymore. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.

"If Congress reimposes sanctions, I don't see many chief executives proposing to their boards 'hey, let's invest in Iran, '" said the European diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity.

If Iran were to begin reinstalling its centrifuges and rebuilding its plutonium reactors, they would be able to begin rapidly expanding toward nuclear capability within a few years, said Jake Sullivan, a former top foreign policy adviser for Hillary Clinton who worked on negotiating the original deal in 2015.

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Trump again blasts Iran nuke deal as certification decision looms