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Decision doesn’t mean U.S. will withdraw from deal; president will also lay out broader Iran policy
By Felicia Schwartz, The Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is expected to announce on Friday that he won’t certify Iran is complying with the 2015 multinational nuclear agreement and will take Tehran to task more broadly for practices ranging from missile tests to support of violent groups, U.S. officials said.
The refusal to certify Iran’s compliance doesn’t mean the U.S. will pull out of the deal, the officials added, and Mr. Trump isn’t expected to ask Congress to re-impose economic sanctions that had been lifted as part of the agreement. But it could send the White House down a road of trying to change a deal that U.S. allies still support.
Mr. Trump, a longtime opponent of the accord negotiated under his predecessor’s administration, is expected to announce his decision in a speech in which he will also lay out plans to crack down on Iran’s missile program and its support for Hezbollah and other militant groups in the Middle East, the officials said.
Mr. Trump is also likely to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s elite military branch, as a terrorist organization, a step that has been the subject of internal administration debates, according to people familiar with the deliberations.
Iran vowed a “crushing” response if the U.S. takes that step.
The venue for Mr. Trump’s remarks was the subject of debate as well. Officials said they had discussed the possibility of the speech taking place in front of the unoccupied Iranian Embassy in Washington, although that plan was set aside.
Mr. Trump’s speech will mark the end of a months-long Iran policy review by the administration and begin an uncertain process under which Congress has 60 days to consider on an expedited basis reinstating sanctions that had been lifted under the terms of the nuclear accord.
The president will speak in advance of a Sunday deadline to inform Congress about whether or not Iran is complying with the nuclear deal, under the terms of a U.S. law passed in 2015 meant to provide congressional oversight.
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