Trump plans to declare that Iran nuclear deal is not in the national interest

The Washington Post reports: President Trump plans to announce next week that he will “decertify” the international nuclear deal with Iran, saying it is not in the national interest of the United States and kicking the issue to a reluctant Congress, people briefed on an emerging White House strategy for Iran said Thursday.

The move would mark the first step in a process that could eventually result in the resumption of U.S. sanctions against Iran, which would blow up a deal limiting Iran’s nuclear activities that the country reached in 2015 with the U.S. and five other nations.

Trump is expected to deliver a speech, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 12, laying out a larger strategy for confronting the nation it blames for terrorism and instability throughout the Middle East.

Under what is described as a tougher and more comprehensive approach, Trump would open the door to modifying the landmark 2015 agreement he has repeatedly bashed as a raw deal for the United States. But for now he would hold off on recommending that Congress reimpose sanctions on Iran that would abrogate the agreement, said four people familiar with aspects of the president’s thinking.

All cautioned that plans are not fully set and could change. The White House would not confirm plans for a speech or its contents. Trump faces an Oct. 15 deadline to report to Congress on whether Iran is complying with the agreement and whether he judges the deal to be in the U.S. national interest. [Continue reading…]

Politico reports: administration officials are expected to press Republican lawmakers not to reimpose nuclear sanctions, which would effectively unravel the agreement in the eyes of the Iranian government and many U.S. allies.

In return, Trump officials, led by McMaster, plan to reassure congressional Republicans — virtually all of whom opposed the deal — with a pressure campaign against Iran.

That campaign is at the heart of McMaster’s policy review, due Oct. 31, which has been conducted quietly as the debate over the nuclear deal has played out in public. The new policy is expected to target Iranian-backed militias and terrorist groups, including Lebanon-based Hezbollah, and the financial web that facilitates them.

Of particular focus will be the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the administration will designate as a foreign terrorist organization, the first time the military wing of a regime will have earned the label. [Continue reading…]

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