US president Donald Trump will announce on Tuesday whether he will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and a senior US official said it was unclear if efforts by European allies to address Trump’s concerns would be enough to save the pact.
Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the deal, which eased economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran limiting its nuclear program, unless France, Germany and Britain - which also signed the agreement - fix what he has called its flaws.
The senior US official said the European allies had moved significantly in Trump’s direction on what he sees as the defects - the failure to address Iran’s ballistic missile program, the terms under which international inspectors visit suspected Iranian sites, and ‘sunset’ clauses under which some terms expire.
The official did not know, however, if the Europeans had done enough to convince Trump to remain in the deal, reports Reuters.
“The big question in my mind is does he think the Europeans have moved far enough so that we can all be unified and announce a deal? That’s one option,” said the official. “Or (does he conclude) the Europeans have not moved far enough and we say they’ve got to move more?”
European diplomats said privately they expected Trump to effectively withdraw from the agreement, which was struck by six major powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States - and Iran in July 2015.
“It’s pretty obvious to me that unless something changes in the next few days, I believe the president will not waive the sanctions,” one European diplomat said, adding he saw only a “very small” chance that Trump stays in the deal.
European leaders have warned that Trump’s withdrawal would strike a blow to the alliance between Western Europe and the United States, and undo years of negotiations that they say were successful in halting Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Iran has ruled out renegotiating the accord and threatened to retaliate, although it has not said exactly how, if Washington pulls out.
Trump gave no indication of which way he was leaning on Monday, saying only in a Twitter post that he would announce his decision at 2 pm (1800 GMT) on Tuesday.
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