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President Trump Expected To Withdraw U.S. From Iran Nuclear Deal

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Donald Trump is expected to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal Tuesday, CBS News reports.

The U.S. will not renew the sanctions waiver, and the sanctions that had been lifted under the accord will be reinstated.

According to a congressional aide, there will be 90- and 180-day wind-downs on various aspects of what is known as the JCPOA, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, CBS News Ed OKeefe reports.

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In a burst of last-minute diplomacy, punctuated by a visit by Britains top diplomat, the deals European members gave in to many of Trumps demands, according to officials, diplomats and others briefed on the negotiations. Yet they still left convinced he was likely to re-impose sanctions and walk away from the deal he has lambasted since his days as a presidential candidate.

The agreement, struck in 2015 by the United States, other world powers and Iran, lifted most U.S. and international sanctions against the country. In return, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program making it impossible to produce a bomb, along with rigorous inspections.

Trump spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese leader Xi Jinping about his decision Tuesday. Macrons office said the two spoke about “peace and stability in the Mideast,” without elaborating. Macron vigorously supports the deal and tried to persuade Trump to stay committed to it during a visit to Washington last month.

Hours before the announcement, European countries involved in the agreement met to underline their support for it. Senior officials from Britain, France and Germany met in Brussels with Irans Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, Abbas Araghchi.

If the deal collapses, Iran would be free to resume prohibited enrichment activities, while businesses and banks doing business with Iran would have to scramble to extricate themselves or run afoul of the U.S. American officials were dusting off plans for how to sell a pullout to the public and explain its complex financial ramifications, said U.S. officials and others, who werent authorized to speak ahead of an announcement and requested anonymity.

Building up anticipation, Trump announced on Twitter he would disclose his decision at 2 p.m. at the White House. With uncharacteristic discipline, he kept the decision confined to a small group within his National Security Council.

I will be announcing my decision on the Iran Deal tomorrow from the White House at 2:00pm.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2018

In Iran, many were deeply concerned about how Trumps decision could affect the already struggling economy. In Tehran, President Hassan Rouhani sought to calm nerves, smiling as he appeared at a petroleum expo. He didnt name Trump directly, but emphasized that Iran continued to seek “engagement with the world.”

“It is possible that we will face some problems for two or three months, but we will pass through this,” Rouhani said.

An immense web of sanctions, written agreements and staggered deadlines make up the accord. So Trump effectively has several pathways to pull the United States out of the deal by reneging on its commitments.

Under the most likely scenario, Trump would allow sanctions on Irans central bank — intended to target oil exports — to kick back in, rather than waiving them once again on Saturday, the next deadline for renewal, said individuals briefed on Trumps deliberations. Then the administration would give those who are doing business with Iran a six-month period to wind down business and avoid breaching those sanctions.

Depending on how Trump sells it — either as an irreversible U.S. pullout, or one final chance to save it — the deal could be strengthened during those six months in a last-ditch effort to persuade Trump to change his mind. The first 15 months of Trumps presidency have been filled with many such “last chances” for the Iran deal in which hes punted the decision for another few months, and then another.

Other U.S. sanctions dont require a decision until later, including those on specific Iranian businesses, sectors and individuals that will snap back into place in July unless Trump signs another waiver. A move on Tuesday to restore those penalties ahead of the deadline would be the most aggressive move Trump could take to close the door to staying in the deal.

Even Trumps secretary of state and the U.N. agency that monitors nuclear compliance agree that Iran, so far, has lived up to its side of the deal. But the deals critics, such as Israel, the Gulf Arab states and many Republicans, say its a giveaway to Tehran that ultimately paves the path to a nuclear-armed Iran several years in the future.

Iran, for its part, has been coy in predicting its response to a Trump withdrawal. For weeks, Irans foreign minister had been saying that a re-imposition of U.S. sanctions would render the deal null and void, leaving Tehran little choice but to abandon it as well. But on Monday, Rouhani said Iran could stick with it if the European Union, whose economies do far more business with Iran than the U.S., offers guarantees that Iran would keep benefiting.

For the Europeans, a Trump withdrawal would also constitute dispiriting proof that trying to appease him is futile.

The three EU members of the deal — Britain, France and Germany — were insistent from the start that it could not be re-opened. But they agreed to discuss an “add-on” agreement that wouldnt change the underlying nuclear deal, but would add new restrictions on Iran to address what Trump had identified as its shortcomings. Trump wanted to deter Irans ballistic missile program and other destabilizing actions in the region. He also wanted more rigorous nuclear inspections and an extension of restrictions on Iranian enrichment and reprocessing rather than letting them phase out after about a decade.

Negotiating an add-on agreement, rather than revising the existing deal, had the added benefit of not requiring the formal consent of Iran or the other remaining members: Russia and China. The idea was that even if they balked at the Wests impositions, Iran would be likely to comply anyway so as to keep enjoying lucrative sanctions relief.

Although the U.S. and Europeans made progress on ballistic missiles and inspections, there were disagreements over extending the life of the deal and how to trigger additional penalties if Iran were found violating the new restrictions, U.S. officials and European diplomats have said. The Europeans agreed to yet more concessions in the final days of negotiating ahead of Trumps decision, the officials added.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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