WASHINGTON (JTA) — Iran is not living up to the “spirit” of the nuclear deal, President Donald Trump said Thursday, the latest in a flurry of mixed messages on the deal his administration has relayed in recent days.
“As far as Iran is concerned I think they are doing a tremendous disservice to an agreement that was signed,” Trump said in a joint White House appearance with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. “They are not living up to the spirit of the agreement, I can tell you that, and we’re analyzing it very, very carefully and we’ll have something to say about it in the not too distant future.”
Trump’s remarks came just a day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson affirmed in a letter to Congress that Iran was in compliance with the deal. However, the same letter also said that the Trump administration would review the terms of the deal, considering Iran’s leading role in backing terrorism.
The deal swaps sanctions relief for a rollback of Iran’s nuclear program. It does not address Iran’s backing of terrorism, and the global partners in brokering the deal would likely balk at making terrorism an issue after the fact.
During his presidential campaign, Trump relentlessly criticized the deal, but stopped short of clearly saying he would scrap it, as most other Republican candidates promised to do. After he was elected, some of his top officials – including Defense Secretary James Mattis – said it would be unwise to scrap the deal.