Trump to 'decertify' Iran nuclear deal

US Congress

Trump was expected to announce the decision in a speech, tentatively scheduled for this Thursday, detailing a broader strategy for dealing with a nation his administration say supports terrorism and sows chaos in the Mideast.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump disparaged the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran in characteristically superlative terms: "My number-one priority", he said to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March 2016, "is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran".

Trump's United Nations envoy, Nikki Haley, has also been spearheading tough treatment of Tehran in the global body, voicing concerns that Iranian ballistic missile testing is violating "the spirit of the deal".

Iran, which was also reportedly a topic of discussion between the President and military officials, has been under diplomatic attack from the US recently over the 2015 Nuclear Agreement. "And that will be a comprehensive strategy, with a unified team behind him supporting that effort", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Thursday.

Earlier in the evening, while seated with the top defense officials in the cabinet room, Trump talked about the threat from North Korea and preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

"If we can confirm that Iran is living by the agreement, if we can determine that this is in our best interest, then surely we should stay with it", he said.

The president's deadline for certification of the Iran deal is October 15.

Under the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the US agreed to waive nuclear-related sanctions in exchange for Iran restricting its nuclear enrichment activities.

US officials told ABC News the president's objective in decertifying the deal would be to raise the temperature on Iran, and with the threat of restoring old sanctions and imposing new ones - as well as the threat of military force - get the regime to accept fixes to the deal. Every other country involved has no desire to renegotiate the deal, so there's no way for Trump to "fix it".

While Trump said last month that he's made his decision - and much of the focus in recent days has been on whether he will certify Iranian compliance - administration officials say no final decision has been made.

Senator Tom Cotton, a long-time sceptic about the Iran deal, backed decertification in order to threaten Iran with more sanctions or military action. Diplomatic relations were severed after Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy and seized scores of hostages in Tehran during the country's revolution in 1979.

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