Trump ‘unlikely’ to stay in Iran nuke deal, Pompeo

President unlikely to stay in deal unless significant changes are made, says newly appointed secretary of state
BRUSSELS: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that President Donald Trump has yet to decide on whether to pull out from the Iran nuclear deal.
“Absent a substantial fix, absent overcoming the shortcomings, the flaws of the deal, he is unlikely to stay in that deal past this May,” said Pompeo, speaking to reporters after a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.
Trump considers the 2015 Iran nuclear accord “insane” and the “worst deal ever” and has threatened to pull the U.S. out of it unless Washington and its European allies strike a side deal with conditions largely unrelated to the original agreement spanning Iran’s regional activities and its ballistic missile program.
But the pact’s other signatories – Britain, France, Germany, the European Union, China and Russia — view the deal as the best way to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Iran has adamantly denied that its program was intended to develop nuclear arms.
Trump has until a May 12th deadline to decide whether he will continue to extend sanctions relief on Iran with or without the side deal he has sought. Should he fail to extend relief, the deal would almost certainly collapse.
Saying he was warmly welcomed by his counterparts at his first NATO meeting, Pompeo said: “I made it clear today that the United States is eager to continue to lead here in NATO.”
He added that Russia has threatened allies both in military and democratic terms.
“Russia threatens allies and partners both militarily…and through an aggressive campaign to undermine Western democratic institutions,” he said, adding the U.S. “would love nothing more than to have them rejoin the democratic world”.
Pompeo said the July summit, which will be held in Brussels, will focus on three priorities: “increased defense spending and burden sharing, strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defense, and countering terrorism”.
He also congratulated South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for their historic meeting Friday.
The leaders of North and South Korea agreed to a “complete denuclearization” and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, according to local media reports.
The deal followed a historic summit between Moon and Kim in the Joint Security Area of Panmunjom in the South.
“The two leaders solemnly declared…that there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and a new age of peace has dawned,” they said in a joint declaration after the summit, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.–AA

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