WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Donald Trump will confirm on Tuesday whether he will make good on a threat to re-impose US sanctions on Tehran and thereby throw the entire Iran nuclear deal into question.
Trump s announcement that a decision was imminent cut short a last-ditch European diplomatic drive to save the accord ahead of what had been a May 12 deadline.
Trump had until Saturday to decide whether to renew a waiver on one package of US sanctions targeting Iran s oil sector that had been lifted as part of Washington s commitment under the 2015 deal.
“I will be announcing my decision on the Iran Deal tomorrow from the White House at 2:00 pm (1800 GMT),” the president said in a tweet.
The president may now also decide to announce the fate of the rest of Washington s nuclear-related sanctions, which are covered by different waivers, and effectively undermine the entire accord, reached between Tehran and six world powers.
European leaders and diplomats — including Britain s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who was in Washington on Monday — have been pleading with the United States to retain the core of what Trump called the “flawed” accord.
And even if, as now seems inevitable, Trump pulls Washington out of the agreement, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China may decide to stay in and to urge Tehran to maintain its own commitments.
But if Trump s decision raises the prospect of renewed US sanctions on European firms and banks doing business with Iran, the accord itself will be in peril — amid mixed signals from Tehran.
Some Iranian leaders have signalled they might seek to rapidly restore the enrichment capabilities they surrendered under the deal, and European capitals fear Tehran may resume the hunt for a bomb.
Tehran has long insisted it has no ambition to build nuclear weapons, but the signatories to the deal never believed them, and supporters of the accord have warned of a Middle East arms race if it fails.