Trump slams Iranian government in holiday message



President Donald Trump said in January that the Iran deal must be "fixed" by May 12, or the United States will walk away from it.

Trump declined in October to certify that the accord Iran reached in 2015 with the USA and five other world powers was in the interests of the US and later announced he would scrap it and reimpose sanctions unless European allies align with Washington "in fixing significant flaws in the deal". In fact, the most likely result of trying to get a nuclear deal with North Korea by demanding changes to the existing one with Iran is not two effective nuclear deals, but zero, along with a situation in which USA options shrink to either acquiescence or military intervention.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Robert Jordan and Foundation for Defense of Democracies President Cliff May on President Trump's discussion with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the future of the Iran nuclear deal.

According to one outside adviser briefed on the status of the talks, the negotiating team is now working on a double-pronged "fix" that would separate Iran's missiles into two categories: nuclear-capable long-range, intercontinental ballistic missiles that can hit Europe, and shorter-range projectiles that could hit USA allies and friends, including Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates as well as American military assets.

Other defense officials said such concerns can not be discounted when contemplating USA policy toward Iran.

"We also pledge to continue holding the IRGC and the Iranian regime accountable for conducting cyber-attacks overseas and for suppressing Iranian citizens who are protesting the oppression of their government at home", he said. "I guess he [thought] it was okay", Trump said of Tillerson.

Moreover, diplomats said differences have arisen between European allies and the United States over such issues as whether to address both medium and long-range ballistic missiles in the side deal.

The parties reportedly worked out a proposal last week that would not cancel the nuclear accords, nor reopen it to negotiations, yet would significantly increase the pressure on Iran. President Trump campaigned in 2016 on killing the Iran deal, and has only extended it so far very begrudgingly. They also want all nuclear-capable missiles to be treated as part of Iran's banned nuclear program, rather than dealt with separately.

US sanctions will resume unless Trump again waives them on May 12.

In this Friday, Oct. 13, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump makes a statement on Iran policy in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington. "Iran needs to stop sponsoring terrorism and overhaul its banking and business sectors".

When asked if the USA should withdraw from the deal, the crown prince said, "We'll talk about that". He acknowledged that no new civil aviation licenses have been granted under the Trump administration, but said the ones issued by the Treasury Department under the Barack Obama administration are still in effect.

There is a sizable Iranian diaspora living in the United States which has kept a semblance of trade between the two countries alive in the absence of diplomatic relations which were severed following the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. "It's probably another month or so, and you're going to see what I do".

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