Donald Trump set to announce Iran nuclear deal decision

The US President is set to announce a decision on the Iran nuclear deal ahead of the 12 May deadline

US President Donald Trump is set to announce a decision on the Iran nuclear deal at the White House, in what could mark the most significant foreign police move of his presidency.

Trump tweeted that he would make his announcement on Tuesday, before the 12 May deadline by which he has to decide whether to renew the waivers on US sanctions against Iran.

Trump has been highly critical of the 2015 accord, under which Iran limited its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

The White House has signalled that the president might stop short of reneging completely on the deal, but it is unclear what that would entail.

European countries, which have been urging Trump to approve the significant deal, are hoping to stick with the deal even if the US pulls out, but there are doubts about whether this is a viable option.

There are 100-day dispute mechanisms inside the deal that could be invoked to prevent its immediate collapse.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged Trump not to "throw the baby out with the bathwater" on Monday, while his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian made clear that France, the UK and Germany would continue to honour the accord.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has warned that his country could face "some problems" in the coming months, but stressed it will "keep working with the world".

The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was agreed by Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the US, UK, France, China and Russia - plus Germany.

Trump is now surrounded by opponents of the 2015 deal, including John Bolton, his new national security adviser, and Mike Pompeo, the new US secretary of state.

“It is possible that we will face some problems for two or three months, but we will pass through this,” Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, said at a conference ahead of Trump’s announcement, which is expected at 2pm ET (7pm BST) on Tuesday.

In an apparent nod to Europe, Rouhani also stressed that Iran wanted to keep “working with the world and constructive engagement with the world”.

The deal saw Iran agree to limit the size of its stockpile of enriched uranium - which is used to make reactor fuel, but also nuclear weapons - for 15 years and the number of centrifuges installed to enrich uranium for 10 years. Iran also agreed to modify a heavy water facility so it could not produce plutonium suitable for a bomb.

Iran limited its sensitive nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief

In return, sanctions imposed by the UN, US and EU that had crippled Iran's economy were lifted.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful, and its compliance with the deal has been verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

However, Trump has called the deal a "disaster" and "insane" and twice refused to certify to Congress that Iran is complying with it.

More in World