President Donald Trump is set to announce today whether the United States will withdraw from a nuclear weapons deal with Iran.
The deal, struck between former President Barack Obama, Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani and other world leaders in 2015, saw Iran commit to stop developing nuclear weapons in exchange for reduced sanctions.
Trump called the deal a ‘disaster’ during his 2016 election campaign and more recently said it ‘threw Iran’s dictatorship a political and economic lifeline’.
Yesterday UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson intervened, appearing on Fox & Friends in an appeal to Trump to keep the deal alive.
Last night the President tweeted that he would announce his decision from the White House on Tuesday, at 2pm EDT (7pm BST).
MailOnline has the latest updates.
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- Timothy Stickings
The European Commission has said ‘the deal is working’ but ‘can’t speculate’ on what President Trump will announce, according to a reporter in Brussels.
The EU’s foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, who will give a statement from Rome later, said inspections had certified that Iran was complying with the agreement.
She wrote in a blog post: ‘The deal with Iran is based on a strong monitoring mechanism by the International Atomic Energy Agency – it is not based on trust between the parties.
‘And every inspection by the IAEA has certified that the deal is being implemented.’
The French government would continue to seek an agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions even if Trump pulls out, the country’s defence minister has said.
In further comments to French radio (see 9.18am), Florence Parly said France would seek a deal ‘whether the United States participates or not.’
Mentioning Iran’s support of the Assad regime in Syria, she said: ‘We can see that any escalation… that could lead Iran not to respect the deal that was signed, including by the United States, would only aggravate what is already a very tense situation.’
Almost two-thirds of Americans think the United States should remain a part of the nuclear agreement with Iran, a poll for CNN has found.
63 per cent said that the US ‘should not withdraw’ from the deal, in a poll carried out last week, while 29 per cent said it should.
However, the survey by SSRS also found that 62 per cent of Americans think Iran ‘has violated the terms’ of the 2015 deal, while only 19 per cent do not.
Overall, 37 per cent said they approved of the way Trump was handling the US relationship with Iran, with a disapproval rate of 46 per cent.
Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson has hit out at Boris Johnson for ‘pandering’ to Donald Trump by suggesting he could win the Nobel Peace Prize.
The party’s deputy leader defended the Iran deal, saying: ‘We should seek to build on what we have, not start from scratch.’
Mr Johnson told Sky News that if the President solved the crises in Iran and North Korea he would deserve the prize just as much as Barack Obama.
Further comments have emerged from the Kremlin (see 10.39am) in defence of the nuclear deal with Iran.
A spokesperson described it as a ‘very fragile but indispensable system of agreements’ which would ‘cease to exist’ if Trump pulled out, according to a Bloomberg reporter.
Under the 2015 agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the US agreed to ease sanctions on Iran with a series of ‘waivers’ which suspended them.
The next deadline for extending the waiver passes on May 12, which means Trump now has to decide whether or not to renew it or re-impose sanctions.
The Trump administration re-issued the waivers in January but set a four-month deadline for Congress to address the President’s concerns about the deal.
Sanctions on Iran’s central bank would be re-imposed straight away, while further sanctions on specific businesses and people expire in July, NBC reports.
The Russian government has said that any changes to the Iran nuclear agreement may have ‘negative consequences’, Reuters reports.
There would be ‘inevitable harmful consequences to any actions towards breaking these agreements,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Moscow has repeatedly said it wants the Iran nuclear deal left intact.
Oil prices have slipped in Asia on Tuesday morning amid fears that renewed sanctions on Iran could cut off supplies.
Despite assurances from Iran’s top banker (see 9.11am), the Iranian rial is trading on the black market at 66,000 to the dollar, despite a government-set rate of 42,000 to $1.
Iran’s poor economy has already sparked nationwide protests in December and January which saw at least 25 people killed and, reportedly, nearly 5,000 arrested.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is awaiting Trump’s announcement and said it is ‘not long’ until the President’s decision.
Netanyahu claimed last week that Iran has ‘lied’ about its compliance with the 2015 agreement, presenting documents which he said provided proof of a secret weapons programme.
Reuters reporter Dan Williams shared Netanyahu’s comments on Twitter.
Iran’s president has acknowledged the country could ‘face some problems’ if President Trump announces that America will pull out of the nuclear deal.
President Hassan Rouhani made the comments at a meeting at a petroleum expo in Tehran on Tuesday.
He said: ‘It is possible that we will face some problems for two or three months, but we will pass through this.’
Failure to honour Iran deal ‘would show Kim Jong-Un that he can’t trust Trump’
Failing to honour the Iran nuclear deal will show Kim Jong-un he cannot trust the US, Donald Trump was warned today.
Former Cabinet minister Lord Hague said withdrawing from the agreement would ‘broadcast a message that Washington does not honour its word’.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Lord Hague said: ‘If he is wavering, he should picture himself sitting across from Kim (Jong-Un) in the near future.
‘Ending the Iran deal would mean that what the US signs up to in one year, it can abrogate three years later.’
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been pictured attending Cabinet today after returning from his lobbying trip to Washington.
As well as his appearance on Fox News he wrote an editorial piece for The New York Times in which he argued that ‘the wisest course would be to improve the handcuffs rather than break them’.
He also held talks with newly-installed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Boris Johnson arrives in Downing Street today after returning from Washington
Florida Senator Marco Rubio has said that President Trump should quit the deal because it has ‘enriched Iran and empowered it to destabilise the Middle East’.
Rubio, who was a rival to Trump for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, said the State Department described Iran as a ‘sponsor of terrorism’.
‘The danger remains that Iran could continue hidden nuclear weapons-related efforts,’ Rubio wrote in an editorial for Fox News.
The former lead White House negotiator on the Iran deal has suggested that Trump wants to quit the agreement because it was a legacy of his predecessor Barack Obama.
Robert Malley, who led talks for the 2015 deal while serving in the Obama administration, said he expected Trump to pull out, the Guardian reports.
It seemed that Trump was planning to withdraw ‘not because he’s not satisfied with its substance, but because it’s an Obama legacy,’ he said.
He tweeted to say that European leaders ‘can still save’ the agreement.
Boris Johnson’s appearance on Fox News showed up Britain’s lack of influence with the Trump administration, Labour’s Emily Thornberry said today.
The shadow foreign secretary said on the BBC’s Today programme that Britain had not had face-to-face talks with Trump while Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron had.
‘I think that is a by-product of a long and unnecessary indulgence of Donald Trump that has been happening for too long by this Government,’ she said.
‘I think that if you allow the new president to believe that that sort of behaviour is normal then I think that your influence later is less.’
France’s defence minister said this morning that the Iran deal is not perfect but is a source of peace in the Middle East.
Florence Parly told RTL radio the deal had successfully suspended Iran’s nuclear military programme and the Iranians had respected the agreement.
‘This deal … is a factor of peace and stabilisation in a very eruptive region,’ she said.
The head of Iran’s central bank said on Tuesday that the country’s economy would not be affected if Trump quits the deal, despite fears over global oil supply.
Valiollah Seif told state television: ‘We are prepared for all scenarios. If America pulls out of the deal, our economy will not be impacted’.
Trump may decide to stop waiving sanctions on Iran’s energy sector, in an economy which is 60 per cent reliant on oil income.
Trump ‘poised to ignore warnings and scrap Iran nuclear deal today’
Donald Trump is expected to pull out of the nuclear deal with Iran, ignoring last-ditch pleas from Europe.
Months of intensive talks between the United States and European allies appear deadlocked, with Berlin, London and Paris refusing to rewrite the agreement.
One European diplomat echoed the mood around foreign embassies in Washington, saying ‘there is plainly a difference of opinion,’ acknowledging Trump seems poised to walk away.
Israel’s ambassador to the UK has said this morning that the 2015 deal does not provide a mechanism to stop Iran building nuclear weapons.
Mark Regev told BBC Radio 4 that there was ‘no point in keeping a deal for the sake of keeping a deal.’
Trump hits out at John Kerry’s ‘possibly illegal’ efforts to save nuclear deal
President Trump hit out at Democratic politician John Kerry after the former Secretary of State reportedly met quietly with Iranian officials in a bid to save the deal.
Kerry, who served during Barack Obama’s second term, also met German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and French President Emmanuel Macron, the Boston Globe reported.
‘The United States does not need John Kerry’s possibly illegal Shadow Diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran Deal,’ Trump wrote on Twitter.
The Logan Act makes it illegal for unauthorised civilians to conduct foreign policy with nations that are in the midst of a dispute with the United States, but it was last used to indict someone in 1852.
Iranian leader Rouhani says nuclear deal can continue without the US
President Hassan Rouhani said the nuclear deal could go ahead even if Trump pulls out, as long as the EU continues to support it.
He warned Trump that the US would regret a decision to leave the 2015 agreement, warning of a ‘fierce reaction’ against a withdrawal.
But President Rouhani said it may be possible for the deal to go ahead without US involvement if the EU can guarantee Iran the same benefits.
‘What we want for the deal is that it’s preserved and guaranteed by the non-Americans,’ Rouhani said.
Boris Johnson tells Trump there is ‘no Plan B’ if existing deal fails
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged Trump to be ‘realistic’ about what can be done to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Speaking on a visit to Washington, he pleaded with Trump to recognise there was no acceptable ‘Plan B’ to the existing deal with Tehran.
Appearing on Fox & Friends, known to be one of the President’s favourite TV shows, Mr Johnson appealed for the US not to throw the ‘baby out with the bathwater’.
Trump will announce decision on Iran nuclear deal ‘within hours’
President Donald Trump says he will be announcing his decision on the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday at the White House.
The president is expected to say in remarks that he’s pulling the U.S. out of the 2015 agreement he inherited from the previous administration.
Aside from complaining about it consistently during his campaign, Trump harangued it as a ‘very badly negotiated’ agreement in a tweet today that took aim at the secretary of state who helped to broker it.