PM said to tell NATO: ‘Real possibility’ Trump will nullify Iran deal
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PM said to tell NATO: ‘Real possibility’ Trump will nullify Iran deal

TV report says Netanyahu warned ambassadors to amend pact or US will walk away

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during lunch with NATO ambassadors to Israel at the King David hotel in Jerusalem on January 9, 2018. (Hadas Parushl/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during lunch with NATO ambassadors to Israel at the King David hotel in Jerusalem on January 9, 2018. (Hadas Parushl/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday reportedly warned ambassadors from NATO countries that there is a “real possibility” US President Donald Trump will cancel the Iran nuclear deal this week.

“President Trump has to make a decision this week,” Netanyahu said at a Jerusalem luncheon, according to a Channel 10 news report. “You have to understand that there is a real possibility that he will work to cancel the nuclear agreement. If you do not act to amend the agreement, then Trump may cancel it.”

Channel 10 also quoted a source as saying Netanyahu sent a similar warning to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and British Prime Minister Theresa May last week.

Netanyahu also told the envoys that Israel would not allow Iran to take control of Syria.

“We are absolutely committed to preventing Iran from forming such a base, a military base in Syria, and we back our words with action,” he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu poses with NATO ambassadors to Israel during lunch at the King David hotel in Jerusalem on January 9, 2018. (Hadas Parushl/Flash90)

On Friday, Trump will have to decide whether to sign a number of waivers that would block the renewal of sanctions removed under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is formally known.

If he does not sign those waivers, the sanctions will automatically be reinstated, putting the US in contravention of the deal’s terms and likely spelling the end of the 2015 pact.

Under the accord, the US president has to sign the waivers every 120 days, while the American intelligence services monitor the Islamic Republic’s compliance with the deal, which rolled back crippling sanctions against Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

As a candidate, Trump expressed intense disapproval of the deal, repeatedly promising to tear it up should he be elected and often calling it the “worst deal ever negotiated.” Since ascending to the Oval Office, however, he has stepped back from such dramatic action.

This file photo taken on December 18, 2017 shows US President Donald Trump speaking about his administration’s National Security Strategy at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. ( AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB)

Trump faces another deadline on Thursday, when he will be required to again certify Iranian compliance with the deal, which he must do every 90 days under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the Associated Press last week that Trump had yet to make a decision on what he will do this week. He said the administration was talking with lawmakers on “a very active basis” about coming to a resolution.

“The president said he is either going to fix it or cancel it,” he told the AP. “We are in the process of trying to deliver on the promise he made to fix it.”

Eric Cortellessa contributed to this report.

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