Trump to approve 'significantly flawed' Iran nuclear deal for last time

Donald Trump met with his top security advisers before he making his decision

Speaking to reporters earlier Friday, a senior USA administration official said Trump will seek "a follow-on or a supplemental agreement" with European partners to strengthen the deal he has vowed to scrap. They did not immediately react to Trump's demand on January 12 that they help come up with a stronger agreement.

He also called on Iran to stay calm and continue to fulfil obligations under the deal.

"This could be one of Washington's big foreign policy mistakes, a big miscalculation in American policy", he said. Germany said it remains committed to the "continued full implementation of the agreement" but would "talk to our European partners about next steps". Ripping up the deal only allows the government to say the villain here is the United States, it's not our own corruption, our own misuse of funds, et cetera.

Trump had privately chafed at having to once again waive sanctions on a country he sees as a rising threat in the Middle East.

In a background briefing, senior administration officials said this is Trump's "waiver" on Iran.

The White House faced a series of deadlines related to the deal on Friday, most importantly, whether to renew or terminate a waiver for sanctions on Iran's central bank and energy sector.

The official said that Trump now wants to work with America's European allies - who all urged him to remain within the accord - to develop a new agreement to replace the Iran deal.

The Treasury Department also announced 14 new sanctions designations on Iran, including against entities in its aviation sector, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps cyber units and the head of Iran's judiciary.

Trump has always been a critic of the Iran Deal, which was struck by then-President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in 2015. The nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, does not address Iran's ballistic missile program.

Two senior Trump administration officials told Reuters on Wednesday that the president, a Republican, had privately expressed reluctance to heed the advice of top advisers recommending he not reimpose the suspended sanctions.

Trump refused to recertify the deal in October and has threatened to withdraw the United States if what he calls serious flaws in the accord can not be fixed by USA lawmakers and US allies. Without a fix, Trump has threatened to withdraw.

Iran, despite repeatedly claiming its nuclear programme is only for peaceful purposes, has vowed to "shred" the deal if Washington pulls out.

Congress has so far shown little interest in using legislation to undercut or change the current Iran nuclear deal.



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