The FINANCIAL -- U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to call for measures cracking down on what he sees as Iran's aggression in the Middle East in a widely anticipated speech on October 13, but stop short of pulling out of a nuclear deal between global powers and Tehran, U.S. officials say.
In a White House statement outlining elements a new strategy to counter Tehran hours before the address, Trump said that was "time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran's government end its pursuit of death and destruction."
Citing officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, U.S. media reported that Trump will say that the 2015 deal is not in the national security interests of the United States, and Tehran violates the "spirit" of the deal by continuing to develop ballistic missiles and foment regional conflicts.
But he will not declare that Iran is technically in violation of its obligations to curb nuclear activities under the accord in exchange for sanctions relief, and he will not call for the reimposition of nuclear-related sanctions, the officials said, according to RFE/RL.
Rather, they said Trump will urge Congress to pass legislation setting new, tougher requirements that Tehran must meet to continue to benefit from sanctions relief.
The White House statement issued ahead of the address set out elements of a strategy designed to neutralize the Iranian government's "destabilizing influence," constrain "its aggression, particularly its support for terrorism and militants," and prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons.
It said the Trump administration would work to deny Iran -- particularly the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) -- the funds it needs to conduct "malign activities" and to oppose IRGC activities that "extort the wealth of the Iranian people."
The statement did not say whether it would declare the IRGC a terrorist organization, something the Iranian government has warned the Trump administration not to do or to face a "proportionate response."
The Trump administration said it would also "rally the international community" to condemn the IRGC's "gross violation of human rights and its unjust detention" of U.S. citizens and other foreigners on what it called "specious charges."
The statement added that most importantly, it would "deny the Iranian regime all paths to a nuclear weapon."
Trump is expected to speak at 12:45 p.m. Washington time on October 13.
The July 2015 agreement between Iran and six world powers -- the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia -- puts limits on Iran’s nuclear program in return for the easing of economic sanctions.
Trump has repeatedly denounced the deal, which was negotiated and signed under President Barack Obama's administration, and told the UN General Assembly last month that it was "one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into."
Under U.S. law, the administration is required every 90 days to recertify that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal and that the agreement remains in the U.S. national interest. The Trump administration has twice in the past certified that Iran is complying.
Congress To Decide
Media reports say the president this time under an October 15 deadline will announce that he is decertifying Iran while not formally pulling the United States out of the deal.
That move would give the Republican-controlled Congress 60 days to decide whether to reinstate sanctions on Tehran that were suspended under the agreement, a development that would amount to withdrawing from the deal.
While Congress could vote to reimpose sanctions, sentiment among lawmakers has been building recently in favor of keeping the deal in place, even among Republicans and Democrats who originally opposed it when Congress voted on it in 2015, media have reported.
Trump and other administration officials have repeatedly said that, while Iran may be complying with actual terms of the pact, it has not acted in the "spirit" of the accord, including by continuing to test-launch ballistic missiles and rockets capable of carrying nuclear warheads and by meddling in the affairs of its Middle East neighbors.
Tehran says its nuclear program is intended solely for peaceful purposes, including power generation.
Most Democrats and some Republicans, including members of Trump’s national security team, have expressed concerns about pulling out of the accord, saying it could hurt U.S. credibility on the world stage.
The U.S. officials said that, along with discussing the nuclear accord, Trump in his speech will also point out many complaints regarding Iran's nonnuclear activities.
Among those will be the country’s ballistic-missile program and support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in that country’s civil war, along with Lebanon's Hizballah movement and other groups allegedly destabilizing the region.
With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and dpa