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Posted: October 13, 2017

Iran nuclear deal: What to know about Trump's aggressive new strategy


By Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

UPDATE 1:30 p.m. ET:

President Donald Trump said Friday during a news conference that Iran is not living up to the “spirit” of the nuclear deal signed in 2015.

Trump criticized the deal, calling it “one of the worst” and most “one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”  

>> Full transcript: Read President Trump’s remarks about the Iran nuclear deal 

The president’s new strategy will include tougher sanctions that will aim to deny the Iranian regime all paths to nuclear weapons.

>> Here is President Trump’s new strategy on Iran

ORIGINAL REPORT:

President Donald Trump is expected to announce an aggressive new strategy toward Iran on Friday, disavowing the 2015 nuclear accord that was negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama. But Trump will stop short -- at least for now -- of scrapping the agreement or even rewriting it.

>> Read more trending news

"It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction,” Trump said in a statement released early Friday.

Here are some things to know about Trump’s actions on the accord, which was signed by the United States, Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union.

  • In his remarks, scheduled for 12:45 p.m. Friday, Trump will declare his intention not to certify Iran’s compliance with the deal. But the move does not amount to tearing up the deal, which was a promise he made during his run for the presidency in 2016.

  • Trump will send the agreement to Congress, which will have 60 days to determine a policy. 

  • If Congress imposes new punitive economic sanctions on Iran, the nuclear deal likely would fall through. However, Trump wants legislators to adopt new measures to keep it in place and define parameters by which the United States would impose new sanctions in the event Iran violates its agreements.

  • Some of the violations could be defined as continued ballistic launches by Iran, refusal to extend its constraints on the production of nuclear fuel, or if U.S. intelligence agencies conclude that Iran could produce a nuclear weapon in a year or less.

  • Two times, Trump reluctantly certified the deal, but told his top advisers that he would no longer do it. To do so, he asserted, would make it appear that the president was breaking his campaign process.

  • Iran has rejected reopening the accord or negotiating a new one. 

In his statement Friday, Trump said his decision was the “culmination of nine months of deliberation” with Congress and U.S. allies on how to best protect American security.

President Trump Meets Military Leaders, Says "Calm Before The Storm"


Related

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Trump’s new approach on Iran nuclear accord -- what to know

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Trump’s new approach on Iran nuclear accord -- what to know

President Donald Trump said his decision capped nine months of deliberation with his advisers.

What will happen if President Trump decertifies the Iran nuclear deal?

President Donald Trump is facing pressure from U.S. and world leaders as several reports say he is expected to decertify the nuclear deal with Iran.

The move, which some expect will come on Friday, could leave the United States on the opposite side of many European allies and, ultimately, unravel the agreement negotiated under President Barack Obama’s administration.

The deal, which gave Iran relief from economic sanctions in return for constraints on its nuclear program took effect in January 2016. Here’s a look at the program and what it means if the president decertifies it.

What is the deal?

The Iranian nuclear deal – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA – called for Iran to impose limits on nuclear research and cut back on enriching uranium. In exchange, the U.S., China France, the United Kingdom and Germany would relax economic sanctions each country imposed on Iran.

JCPOA is a “non-binding political agreement.” Click here to learn the specifics of the plan.

Will the deal be broken if Trump decertifies it?

No, the deal will not be invalidated if the administration decertifies it. While the president is required to certify the deal every 90 days, that certification is not part of the deal. The requirement for certification that Iran is complying with the deal came out of the dissatisfaction by Republicans over the Obama administration’s agreement. Trump has twice certified the deal since he took office in January.

What happens if Trump decertifies the deal?

If Trump decertifies the agreement, Congress will have 60 days in which it can reimpose economic sanctions on Iran. The vote would be a simple majority vote as there is no filibustering the deal. If those sanctions are put back into place, the JCPOA would be considered breached.

However, just because Congress has a window to fast-track legislation doesn’t mean it has to reimpose economic sanctions. Members can choose to do nothing.

What will happen then?

If the U.S. decided to reimpose nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, it would be in breach of the JCPOA. 

Who says they are not holding up their end of the deal?

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitors Iran’s actions and has, thus far, confirmed that Iran is in compliance with the deal. The president says he believes they are not following the "spirit" of the deal.

What is Trump expected to say or do about the deal?

According to CNN, the president is expected to lay out a new strategy to counter Iran's regional aggression and its threats worldwide.

Trump meets military leaders, mentions ‘calm before the storm’

Pool/Getty Images

Trump meets military leaders, mentions ‘calm before the storm’

Posing with military leaders and their spouses for photographs before a dinner at the White House on Thursday, President Donald Trump was ambiguous as spoke of “the calm before the storm,” CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

“You guys know what this represents? Maybe it's the calm before the storm,” Trump said after a meeting with his top military commanders.

When reporters pressed him on what the statement meant, Trump replied: “It could be, the calm, the calm before the storm.”

Reporters asked if the storm was related to Iran or ISIS.

“We have the world's great military people in this room, I will tell you that. And uh, we're gonna have a great evening, thank you all for coming.”

When reporters persisted, Trump said, “You'll find out.”

What is the Iran nuclear agreement and will the U.S. back out of it?

The Trump administration will seek to revisit the nuclear agreement with Iran, The New York Times is reporting, instead of scrapping the deal that limits Irans’s development of ballistic weapons.

According to the story, President Donald Trump hopes to tighten sanctions instead of abandoning the agreement hammered out two years ago.

The news comes after Trump suggested that Iran is not complying with the agreement while speaking to the United Nations General Assembly. When asked if he planned to back out to the deal he has said is an “embarrassment to the United States,” Trump told reporters, “I have decided. “I’ll let you know. I’ll let you know.”

Trump’s actions have a timetable – the United States has until Oct. 15 to certify whether Iran is meeting the terms of the Vienna agreement.

What’s in the agreement and why does it matter? Here’s a look at the Iranian nuclear deal.

Under the agreement, what must Iran do?

1. All but 6,000 of the country’s 19,500 centrifuges – machines used to separate U-235, an isotope that can be used to make bombs, from mined uranium – are to be placed in storage. Mothballing the centrifuges leads to a loss of two-thirds of Iran’s ability to enrich uranium. Enriched uranium is a component of a nuclear bomb.

2. Iran will export all but 661 pounds of its 8 tons of low-enriched uranium. Low-enriched uranium is uranium with a lower concentration of U-235.

3. Storing the centrifuges and exporting the uranium would delay from three or four months to at least 12 months Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon.

4. A secret plant built into a mountain – the Fordow enrichment plant—will be converted to a research center. The majority of centrifuges there will be removed, with an agreement that the remaining will not be used to enrich uranium.

5. A heavy water plant at Arak will be altered so it is unable to produce plutonium. Plutonium can be used in nuclear weapons.

6. IAEA inspectors have more access to nuclear plants in Iran.

What does the United States do?

1. If Iran completes the actions required, the United States, along with Britain, China, France, ­Germany, and Russia, will lift economic sanctions put into place after the discovery of the nuclear program. The sanctions account for about $100 billion.2. The U.S. and the other countries will also recognize the country’s right to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes.3. Under the agreement, Iran will remain under a UN arms embargo for five years, while the restrictions on its nuclear weapons program will stay in place for eight years.

Sources: The Associated Press; The Telegraph;  the Iran nuclear deal

Trump-Corker feud heats up as senator says president's threats could lead to 'World War III'

President Donald Trump began his Sunday morning by attacking a Senate Republican on Twitter.

>> Trump's cryptic tweet about North Korea: 'Only one thing will work'

In three tweets directed at Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, Trump wrote:

"Senator Bob Corker 'begged' me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee. I said 'NO' and he dropped out (said he could not win without my endorsement). He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said 'NO THANKS.' He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal! Hence, I would fully expect Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of our great agenda. Didn’t have the guts to run!"

Corker responded to the president’s tweet by saying, “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center.”

>> See the tweet here

Corker also told The New York Times on Sunday that Trump's recklessness could send the country "on the path to World War III." Read the full report here.

The angry comments follow recent comments from Corker about Trump’s cabinet and its ability to keep the world from “chaos.”

>> Read more trending news

Last week, when asked about the NBC News report that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the president a “moron,” Corker told reporters that the Cabinet functions to “separate our country from chaos, and [he supports] them very much” in a statement that could be read to imply that Trump was causing “chaos.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders addressed the statement, offering that Trump was the one “keeping the world from chaos.”

Corker announced in September that he would not be seeking reelection, after some deliberation. Trump reportedly asked Corker to run for re-election, though Trump claims in his latest string of tweets that Corker “begged” for his endorsement.

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

  Trump's cryptic tweet about North Korea: 'Only one thing will work'
 

Iran tests new ballistic missile

Iran tested a new ballistic missile that reportedly is capable of carrying multiple warheads, CNN reported Saturday, citing the nation's state-run broadcaster announced.

>> Read more trending news

“Iran has released footage of the successful test-launch of its new ballistic missile, Khorramshahr, a few hours after it was unveiled during a military parade in the capital city of Tehran,” Press TV said.

“The Khorramshahr missile has become smaller in size and more tactical and it will be operational in the near future.”

The missile was launched from an unknown location, CNN reported.

Called the Khorramshahr missile, the weapon has a range of 1,250 miles and can carry multiple warheads, according to Press TV. That would make it capable of reaching Israel and Saudi Arabia, CNN reported.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Friday that the country would press ahead with strengthening its missile capabilities and military defenses, Press TV reported.

“We will promote our defensive and military power as much as we deem necessary," Rouhani said. “We seek no one's permission to defend our land.”

“Whether you like it or not we are going to help Syria, Yemen, and Palestine, and we will strengthen our missiles.”

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