The White House says President Donald Trump will on October 13 make his long-awaited announcement on U.S. policy toward Iran, including whether to decertify the 2015 nuclear accord signed with Tehran by the United States and other world powers.
The Trump administration on October 12 said the announcement will be made at 12:45 p.m. Washington time (6:45 p.m. Prague time).
The nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers -- the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia -- put limits on Iran’s nuclear program in return for the easing of economic sanctions.
U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity said Trump will sharply criticize Iran in his speech and say the deal is not in the United States' national security interests.
However, he will not declare that Iran is contravening the technical requirements of the accord, only the “spirit” of the deal, the officials said.
They added that Trump will not call for a re-imposition of nuclear sanctions but will urge Congress to pass legislation setting new, tougher requirements that Tehran must meet to continue to benefit from sanctions relief.
Trump will also ask Congress to amend or replace legislation that requires him every 90 days to certify that Iran is in compliance with the accord, a requirement officials say Trump has long opposed.
Trump has repeatedly denounced the nuclear deal, which was signed under President Barack Obama, and told the UN General Assembly last month that it is "one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into."
Media reports have said the president will announce he will decertify the deal by an October 15 deadline, a move that would give the Republican-controlled Congress 60 days to decide whether to reinstate sanctions on Tehran that were suspended under the agreement.
It is not clear how a potential U.S. withdrawal from the deal move would affect the overall accord with Tehran or how the other signees would act.
Trump and other administration officials have repeatedly said that while the Iranians may be complying with actual terms of the pact, they have not acted in the “spirit” of the accord, including by continuing to test-launch ballistic missiles and rockets capable of carrying nuclear warheads and by meddling in the affairs of its Middle East neighbors.
Under U.S. law, the administration is periodically required to recertify that Iran is in compliance with the deal and that it remains in the U.S. national interest. The Trump administration has twice in the past certified that Iran is complying.
Tehran says its nuclear program is intended solely for peaceful purposes, including power generation.
Most Democrats and some Republicans, including members of Trump’s national security team, have expressed concerns about pulling out of the accord, saying it could hurt U.S. credibility on the world stage.
The U.S. officials said that, along with discussing the nuclear accord, Trump will also point out many complaints regarding Iran's nonnuclear activities.
Among those will be the country’s ballistic-missile program and support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in that country’s civil war, along with Lebanon's Hizballah movement and other groups destabilizing the region.
With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and dpa