Trump to announce Iran deal decision on Tuesday
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Trump to announce Iran deal decision on Tuesday

US president widely expected to walk away from landmark nuclear pact in 2 p.m. White House statement

Eric Cortellessa covers American politics for The Times of Israel.

US President Donald Trump addresses the nation on the situation in Syria on April 13, 2018, at the White House. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)
US President Donald Trump addresses the nation on the situation in Syria on April 13, 2018, at the White House. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump will announce his heavily anticipated decision on the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday at 2 p.m. Washington time, he said via Twitter on Monday afternoon.

The announcement comes ahead of his self-imposed May 12 deadline to either waive sanctions in line with the international accord, or walk away from the deal wholesale.

In January, Trump waived sanctions for the third time in his presidency, but vowed to never do so again, unless Congress and European allies amended the pact.

Since then, international negotiators have unsuccessfully sought to make changes to the deal — and Tehran has refused to accept any alterations to its terms.

The Trump administration has proposed three key “fixes” to the accord, including addressing the deal’s sunset provisions that allow certain restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program to expire, and adding provisions that ban Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles as well as providing greater access to the country’s military sites.

Over the last few weeks, European leaders have lobbied the president not to abscond from the accord, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has campaigned to discredit the deal.

Last week, he gave a PowerPoint presentation detailing a trove of documents the Mossad scooped that outline Iran’s covert attempts at developing a nuclear arsenal. President Trump responded by saying they proved he was “100 percent right” in his skepticism and antipathy to the deal.

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 negotiators for the Obama administration on the Paris climate accord, has been promoting both agreements since he left office.

In this January 16, 2016 file photo, then-secretary of state John Kerry talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna, after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified that Iran has met all conditions under the nuclear deal. (Kevin Lamarque/Pool via AP, File)

The Boston Globe reported Friday that Kerry, the lead negotiator on the 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 on May 12.

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 of 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.

Last week at an event in Dallas, Trump mocked Kerry over a bicycle accident he had three years ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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