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Donald Trump's criticism of Iran nuclear deal rebuked by allies and adversaries

21 Septembre 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he had made a decision on whether or not to pull the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, but he declined to say what it was. He also ruled out the idea of renegotiating the pact. Trump has openly said if it were up to him, he would have already said the country has not complied.

Under U.S. law, the president must certify to Congress every 90 days whether Iran is adhering to the agreement.

"Either the nuclear deal remains as it is or it will collapse", he added.

Iran will not violate the global deal that lifted sanctions in exchange for curbs on Tehran's nuclear program, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday, adding that it would be a "great pity" if "rogue newcomers" destroyed the deal.

Rouhani's comments came a day after Trump's speech to the United National General Assembly, in which he castigated the Iranian government for masking "a corrupt dictatorship behind false guise of a democracy".

He also criticised Trump for the speech he made at the UNGA on Tuesday, in which the USA president claimed Iran was exporting violence and destabilising the Middle East and bashed the nuclear deal as an "embarrassment" to the US.

"I declare before you that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not be the first country to violate the agreement", Rouhani said.

Critics of the deal, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, worry that, once the main restrictions on Iran's nuclear program expire in 10 to 15 years, Tehran will be in a position to quickly develop an atomic weapon, if it wishes. It would, he added, be "a great pity" if the deal were to be "destroyed by rogue newcomers to the world of politics".

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Trump hinted in his speech to the annual gathering of world leaders that he may not recertify the agreement, negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

The rhetorical threats have anxious the other countries in the agreement: Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation. Pressed for details, he replied coyly: "I'll let you know".

On Tuesday evening, however, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Fox News that "if we're going to stick with the Iran deal there has to be changes made to it".

The prospect of Washington reneging on the agreement has anxious some USA partners that helped negotiate it, especially as the world grapples with North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile development.

Compounding the animosity ahead of the meeting, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded to Trump by calling his Wednesday speech "ignorant" and "unfit" to be heard at the United Nations.

"According to me we have to keep the 2015 agreement because it was a good one", Macron told reporters at the United Nations.

The next certification deadline is October 15, and several officials and people close to the matter have described Trump as determined to "decertify" Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal at that point.