President Donald Trump will unveil a more aggressive strategy to check Iran’s growing power Friday, but stop short of withdrawing from a landmark nuclear deal or declaring the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization.
During a speech at 12:45 pm (1645 GMT) from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Trump will declare the 2015 agreement — which curbed Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief — is no longer in the US national interest.
Trump will withdraw presidential support for the landmark nuclear deal — known as the JCPOA — but will stop short of killing the agreement, his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.
“The intent is that we will stay in the JCPOA, but the president is going to decertify.”
“We’re saying, fine, they’re meeting the technical compliance,” he said indicating that the broader agreement would remain intact for now.
That will leave US lawmakers to decide its fate.
Trump had repeatedly pledged to overturn one of his predecessor Barack Obama’s crowning foreign policy achievements, deriding it as “the worst deal” and one agreed to out of “weakness.”
The agreement was signed between Iran and six world powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US — at talks coordinated by the European Union.
It stalled Iran’s nuclear program and marginally thawed relations between Iran and what Tehran dubs the “Great Satan.”
But opponents, and even some supporters, say it also prevented efforts to challenge Iranian influence across the Middle East.
In his speech, Trump will rail against Iran’s “destabilizing influence” in the Middle East, “particularly its support for terrorism and militants,” according to a fact sheet released by the White House.
“We don’t think that nuclear agreement should define the entire policy,” said Tillerson. “There are also many more immediate concerns we have with Iran’s destabilizing activities in the area and in the region.”
Tillerson cited the threat to US and allies’ interests from Iran’s proxy forces, ballistic missile development and eventual nuclear ambitions.
Trump has railed against the deal since he was a presidential candidate, and told aides earlier this year he will not recertify it.
But since coming to office, he has faced intense lobbying from international allies and his own national security team, who argued it should remain in place.