Democrats who opposed Iran nuke deal urge Trump to keep pact

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If Trump announces the decertification of the Iran nuclear deal, Congress will reportedly have 60 days to re-impose economic sanctions against Iran that were withdrawn following the 2015 agreement.

The state-run IRNA news agency reported that the country's top diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif, briefed lawmakers during a closed session of parliament on Trump's anticipated refusal to certify Iran's nuclear deal with world powers.

European officials have categorically ruled out renegotiating the deal, but have said they share Trump's concerns over Iran's destabilising influence in the Middle East.

Two other United States officials, who also requested anonymity, said Trump's bellicose rhetoric on a number of fronts is troubling both many of his own aides and some of America's closest allies, a few of whom have asked U.S. officials privately if Trump's real objective is attacking Iran's nuclear facilities.

Under that pact, Iran agreed to freeze its nuclear program for 15 years in exchange for sanctions relief.

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One of the officials said that like the heated rhetoric with North Korea on its nuclear programme, the Iran discussion has vexed White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "who have tried to advise the President that there are significant risks in the course he'd prefer to pursue". "The chances of him walking away from it go down if they work with him on making it better", the official said.

In mid-July, the Post says, a "furious" Trump argued with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and others who said while the 2015 deal, brokered by former President Barack Obama, was not flawless, it offered stability.

Several European allies have urged Trump not to nix the agreement, but instead to build on it, possibly addressing "sunset" provisions (by 2026, key nuclear restrictions lift on the accord). Engel, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, said unwinding the agreement would send a unsafe signal to allies and adversaries alike.

If the USA backs out of the nuclear deal, "it won't be our failure at all, but a failure for the other side", Rouhani said, according to state TV.

"Withholding certification would be a distraction from the real issues ... and it's playing with fire", Engel said, adding that the move would be viewed by Iran and countries around the world as the first step toward withdrawing from the deal.

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"Wouldn't an Iran armed with nuclear weapons behave worse than a non-nuclear-armed Iran?" With many nations seemingly committed to at least trying to keep the deal going with or without USA involvement, they see pulling out as simply losing their seat at the table for enforcement of the pact.

If Iran were to begin reinstalling its centrifuges and rebuilding its plutonium reactors, they would be able to begin rapidly expanding toward nuclear capability within a few years, said Jake Sullivan, a former top foreign policy adviser for Hillary Clinton who worked on negotiating the original deal in 2015.

So far Trump has certified the accord but said the next deadline on Sunday is the crucial one. "Congress would be empowered to kill the accord through the front door by snapping back sanctions, or to kill it through the back door by moving the goalposts on sanctions relief". "Trump's national security team, and all serious thinkers in Congress, must block the President from a failed certification before it is too late".

It said the reminder was triggered by "current events" but gave no details.

"As flawed as the deal is, I believe we must now enforce the hell out of it", said the California lawmaker.

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Speaking Wednesday at the White House, Trump told reporters, "You're going to see very soon". "We will be announcing that very shortly".

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