Trump to announce Iran decision Tuesday
President Trump will announce on Tuesday whether he will pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear agreement, one of his biggest foreign policy decisions as president.
The reality-TV-star-turned-president sought to build anticipation about his decision in a Monday afternoon tweet.
I will be announcing my decision on the Iran Deal tomorrow from the White House at 2:00pm.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2018
The president faces a May 12 deadline to decide whether to extend sanctions relief under the Obama-era deal, a pact he has derided as the “worst deal ever.” If Trump decides to reimpose sanctions on Tehran, the entire deal could fall apart.
Trump has repeatedly signaled that he will exit the agreement unless substantial changes are made, but he has faced growing pressure from European allies to remain.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Monday made the case to keep the pact intact during a private meeting with Vice President Pence and on one of Trump’s favorite television shows, “Fox and Friends.”
Johnson said on Fox “we need to find a way of fixing” the agreement and argued to not throw “the baby out with the bath water” by “scrapping the whole thing.”
The top British diplomat’s last-minute visit to Washington followed trips by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, both ardent supporters of the deal.
European and U.S. officials have quietly tried to negotiate a side agreement with Iran to address concerns like ballistic missile development and regional military activity, but both sides have acknowledged that changing the deal itself is doubtful.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to preview Trump’s decision, which has been the subject of widespread speculation.
“The president will make an announcement on what his decision is soon,” she told reporters minutes before Trump tweeted. “As you know, he’s got a few days to do that, and we’ll let you know when he’s ready to make a decision on it.”
The Iran deal, one of former President Barack Obama’s top foreign policy achievements, has been the subject of a fierce lobbying campaign.
Trump pledged to scrap the deal during the 2016 campaign and recent personnel decisions indicate he is moving in that direction. New Secretary of State Mike Pomepeo and national security adviser John Bolton are much more critical of the agreement than their predecessors, Rex Tillerson and H.R. McMaster.
Proponents of the deal, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, have scrambled to save it.
Trump blasted Kerry on Monday morning, tweeting, “The United States does not need John Kerry’s possibly illegal Shadow Diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran Deal. He was the one that created this MESS in the first place!”
Kerry, one of Obama’s chief negotiators on the deal, recently met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to discuss ways to salvage the deal, The Boston Globe reported last Friday.
Trump mocked Kerry last Friday for a bicycle accident he had during the Iran negotiations.
“Not the best negotiator we’ve ever seen. He never walked away from the table, except to be in that bicycle race when he fell and broke his leg,” the president told members of the National Rifle Association in Dallas.
The president’s Iran decision comes as he is preparing to enter nuclear talks with North Korea. Some foreign policy experts say if Trump exits the pact with Tehran, it could send the wrong message to Kim Jong Un about the U.S.’s trustworthiness.
“I think it sends the right message,” Trump said last week when asked about his decision. “You know, in seven years, that deal will have expired and Iran is free to go ahead and create nuclear weapons … Seven years is tomorrow. That’s not acceptable.”
This story was updated at 3:55 p.m.