Trump says Iran nuclear deal decision coming today
Boris Johnson the latest from Europe to urge U.S. to not scrap the deal altogether
U.S. President Donald Trump says he will announce his decision on whether to keep the U.S. in the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday.
Trump is facing a self-imposed May 12 deadline over whether to uphold the 2015 nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which he long has criticized. Trump has signalled he will pull out of the agreement by the deadline unless it is revised, but he faces intense pressure from European allies not to do so.
I will be announcing my decision on the Iran Deal tomorrow from the White House at 2:00pm.—@realDonaldTrump
China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the European Union were also signatories to the pact.
The president has been the subject of an intense lobbying effort by American allies to maintain the agreement, with British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson making a last-ditch appeal to the administration in a visit to Washington this week. European leaders say that they are open to negotiating a side agreement with Iran, but that the existing framework must remain untouched for that to happen.
Iran's president on Tuesday warned the country could face "some problems" ahead of Trump's decision on whether to pull out.
Without directly naming Trump, Hassan Rouhani's remarks at a petroleum conference in Tehran represented the first official Iranian comment on the U.S. president's overnight tweet that he'd make an announcement on the deal Tuesday.
"It is possible that we will face some problems for two or three months, but we will pass through this," Rouhani said.
Rouhani also stressed Iran wants to keep "working with the world and constructive engagement with the world." That appeared to be a nod to Europe, which has struck a series of business deals with Iran since the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.
Most Iranians unaware decision would be today
Iran likely hopes the European Union will pass laws to protect European firms from any potential U.S. sanctions.
Trump's tweet came late on Monday night in Iran, meaning major newspapers missed the announcement for their front pages.
Iran's state-run television broadcaster carried the announcement at 10 a.m. local time, and Iran's state-run IRNA news agency also carried a report on it.
Trump's announcement will come after nightfall in Iran.
Iran's 2015 nuclear deal imposed restrictions on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program in return for the lifting of most of the U.S. and international sanctions against Tehran.
However, the deal came with time limits and did not address Iran's ballistic missile program or its regional policies. Trump has repeatedly pointed at that, while referring to the accord as the "worst deal ever." However, proponents of the deal have said those time limits were to encourage more discussion with Iran in the future that could grow into addressing those other concerns.
Iran facing economic challenges
Rouhani, shown smiling and addressing an audience at a table at the expo Tuesday, sought to show calm to Iranians. Meanwhile, Iran's parliament speaker Ali Larijani reportedly said Trump pulling out of the deal would increase unity among Iranians.
However, many in Tehran and elsewhere in the country are worried about what Trump's decision could mean for the country.
Already, the Iranian rial is trading on the black market at 66,000 to the dollar, despite the government-set rate being at 42,000 to $1. Many say they have not seen the benefits of the nuclear deal.
Iran's poor economy and unemployment already sparked nationwide protests in December and January that saw at least 25 people killed and, reportedly, nearly 5,000 arrested.
Earlier Monday, Trump criticized John Kerry after reports that the former secretary of state has been promoting the Iran nuclear deal.
Trump said on Twitter: "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, who was also the lead negotiator for the Obama administration on the Paris climate accord, has been promoting both agreements since he left office.
The Boston Globe reported Friday that Kerry, the lead negotiator on the Iran deal for the Obama administration, had been privately meeting with foreign officials to strategize on how to keep the U.S. in the deal. Trump has been highly critical of the pact and has threatened to exit.
Kerry has met with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and at least one of their meetings was at a public event in Oslo, Norway, in June 2017, where they sat on the same panel with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and extolled the virtues of the nuclear deal.
Kerry, a keen environmentalist who regularly derided climate change skeptics and championed ocean health while secretary of state, has also continued to speak out on those issues since becoming a private citizen.