Trump says Iran not living up to ‘spirit’ of nuclear deal

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Olivier Knox
·Chief Washington Correspondent
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President Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni at the White House. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
President Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni at the White House. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

WASHINGTON — A day after the U.S. State Department certified that Iran is complying with an agreement designed to rein in its nuclear program, President Trump accused Tehran on Thursday of not honoring the “spirit” of the deal.

“They are not living up to the spirit of the agreement, I can tell you that,” Trump told reporters at a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. “And we’re analyzing it very, very carefully, and we’ll have something to say about it in the not-too-distant future,” the president added.

Trump, who has fiercely criticized the accord, did not spell out his view of how Iran had not lived up to the agreement or how the U.S. might respond.

The president also repeated his campaign-trail attacks on the deal, which gave Iran relief from sanctions related to its suspect nuclear program in return for international monitoring of its activities. “It was a terrible agreement, it shouldn’t have been signed, it shouldn’t have been negotiated the way it was negotiated. I’m all for agreements, but that was a bad one, as bad as I’ve ever seen negotiated,” he said.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump promised to “dismantle” the agreement, which was worked out between Iran, the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia, and Germany. He did not repeat that promise on Thursday.

The National Security Council did not immediately explain what the president meant by the “spirit” of the accord.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson informed Congress that Iran was complying with the agreement. But, he said, the Trump administration is “currently conducting across the entire government a review of our Iran policy” and is “going to review completely” the nuclear deal itself.

“Once we have finalized our conclusions, we will meet the challenges Iran poses with clarity and conviction,” Tillerson added.

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Photos: Retrospective — Photojournalist Chris Hondros