WASHINGTON — Donald Trump backed away from a campaign promise to scrap a major nuclear security deal with Iran on Tuesday, with officials announcing the agreement and related sanctions relief will stay in place for now.
Under the terms of the two-year-old agreement, Tehran scaled back production of nuke-making material in return for massive sanctions relief.
The Trump administration faced a new congressional deadline on Monday to say whether Iran has curbed its nuclear weapons programme in line with the accord.
"The conditions," according to one official who the White House would not name publicly, "have been met, based on information available to the United States."
The 2015 agreement rests on a series of technical benchmarks, and was seen in Washington as a way of avoiding military action to prevent Iran from getting a nuke.
But it has not relieved tensions between Tehran and Washington, which continue to clash particularly over conflicts in the Middle East like Syria and Yemen.
During his election campaign Trump denounced the Obama-era deal, promising to renegotiate it and vowing to get tough on Iran.
An official said: "we do expect that we will be implementing new sanctions that pertain to Iran’s ballistic missile programme and fast boat programme."
For its part, Iran’s complains of non-US compliance, accusing the US administration of failing to lift sanctions in line with the deal. — AFP