Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Trump: Iran violating 'spirit' of nuclear deal, U.S. committed to a strong Europe

WASHINGTON — Iran is failing to fulfill the "spirit" of its nuclear deal with world powers, President Donald Trump declared Thursday, setting an ominous tone for his forthcoming decision about whether to pull the U.S. out of the landmark agreement.

As he often had during the president campaign, Trump ripped into the deal struck by Iran, the U.S. and other world powers in 2015 and said "it shouldn't have been signed." Yet he pointedly stopped sort of telegraphing whether or not the U.S. would stay in.

"They are not living up to the spirit of the agreement, I can tell you that," Trump said of the Iranians, though he did not mention any specific violations. Earlier this week, the administration certified to Congress than Iran was complying — at least technically — with the terms of the deal, clearing the way for Iran to continue enjoying sanctions relief in the near term.

In a news conference alongside Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Trump also said:

• The U.S. is committed to a strong Europe, though he didn't say directly whether he prefers that the European Union stay intact.

• He sees no military role for the U.S. in stabilizing Libya.

• It's possible he may soon be able to strike deals with Congress on both health care and funding legislation to head off a government shutdown.

On Iran, Trump and his top officials have been walking a narrow line as they seek to show an aggressive stance. While disparaging the nuclear deal and accusing Iran of fomenting violence and terrorism throughout the Middle East, Trump has avoided committing to abandoning the agreement, a move that would be staunchly opposed by U.S. businesses and European allies.

Yet the president seems keenly aware that his indecisiveness about the deal's future is a step back from his campaign declaration that as president he would rip it up or renegotiate.

He said of Iran, "I think they are doing a tremendous disservice to an agreement that was signed."

Under the deal, brokered during the Obama administration, Iran agreed roll back key aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from certain economic sanctions. Critics have said it's unfathomable that the U.S. would grant sanctions relief to Tehran even as it continues testing ballistic missiles, violating human rights and supporting extremist groups elsewhere in the Middle East.

By design, the nuclear deal does not address those Western grievances, meaning Tehran can be in compliance even as it violates U.N. resolutions and remains a U.S.-designated state sponsor of terrorism. The U.S. has continued to punish Tehran for those activities with non-nuclear sanctions that also fall outside the purview of the deal.

Trump hasn't given a timeline for when his administration's review of Iran policy — including whether to stick with the deal — will be complete. But the U.S. must decide next month whether to renew a waiver so that Iran can continue receiving sanctions relief.

The president joined Gentiloni for a White House news conference at a tense time for Europe, which was reeling anew from a deadly attack on police in Paris on Thursday ahead of a pivotal presidential vote in France on Sunday. The French election is being seen as a bellwether for whether the move toward nationalism and separation from the European Union, displayed by Britain's move to leave the EU, will continue spreading to other European countries.

Trump didn't specifically weigh in on the French election, nor would he say outright whether he supported countries staying in the EU. But he said a strong Europe is "very, very important" to the United States.

"We will help it be strong, and it's very much to everybody's advantage," Trump said.

Weeks after he said he was moving on after a failed attempt in Congress to replace the Affordable Care Act, Trump said "there's no give-up" and predicted a proposed GOP overhaul of Obama's health care law was gaining popularity.

And, with a funding deadline looming to keep the government running, Trump said it was possible Congress would manage to accomplish it all next week or "shortly thereafter."

"I think we'll get both," he said.

Grappling with other national security concerns, Trump said he did not see a role for the U.S. in Libya, adding that the U.S. "has right now enough roles." Trump has criticized the Obama administration for a 2011 military intervention that he says created a power vacuum that led Libya to slip into chaos.

Trump also voiced optimism that the U.S. had successfully enlisted China to try to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.

"We don't know whether or not they're able to do that, but I have absolute confidence that he will be trying very, very hard," Trump said, referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

President Donald Trump greets Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni as he arrives at the West Wing of the White House in Washington. [Associated Press]

President Donald Trump greets Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni as he arrives at the West Wing of the White House in Washington. [Associated Press]

Trump: Iran violating 'spirit' of nuclear deal, U.S. committed to a strong Europe 04/20/17 [Last modified: Thursday, April 20, 2017 5:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  2. Mother's testimony about toddler's death brings judge to tears

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Nayashia Williams woke up early on May 7, 2014, to the sound of her daughter calling for her. It was the last time the young mother's mornings would begin with a summons from Myla Presley, who couldn't yet climb over the mesh fencing around the playpen she used as a bed.

    Deandre Gilmore looks towards the gallery Tuesday in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore is accused of killing the 19 month-old daughter of his girlfriend in 2014. He said the child fell while he was giving her a bath. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Speakers: Getting tough can't be only response to teen car thefts

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Bob Dillinger remembers coming to Pinellas County as a legal intern in 1975. There were five major poverty zones in St. Petersburg.

    Wengay Newton, Florida House of Representatives (in front, in center), talks as a panelist to a packed room during a community forum on "Reclaiming our Youth: Is Juvenile Justice a Reality?" at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum in St. Petersburg Wednesday evening (10/17/17). The event was presented by the Fred G. Minnis, Sr. Bar Association. Community leaders discussed the ongoing auto theft epidemic among Pinellas youth.
  4. Internal White House documents allege manufacturing decline increases abortions, infertility and spousal abuse

    Politics

    White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Donald Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility, two people familiar with the matter told the …

  5. Black entrepreneur says city stiffing him on project after he endorsed Rick Baker

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — A prominent African-American resident says his endorsement of mayoral candidate Rick Baker has led city officials to freeze him out of a major construction project along the historic "Deuces" stretch of 22nd Street S.