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Deadline looming for Trump to say if Iran is still complying with nuclear deal

 (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)

The administration is hitting a deadline to say whether it believes Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal that President Trump in his campaign promised to obliterate; an announcement is expected soon, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.

“The secretary of State will have an announcement very shortly on that deal,” Spicer told reporters Monday during an off-camera briefing at the White House.

“I think you all know that the president has made very clear that he thought this was a bad deal, a bad deal for the United States.”

Calling the agreement bad is hardly an assurance that Trump will rip it up, as he promised on the campaign trail.

By law, every 90 days the administration has to decide whether to certify that Iran is in compliance with the pact negotiated by the Obama administration. Earlier this year, Trump made the first such certification, and numerous reports have quoted White House officials saying he is likely to do so again.

Spicer defended the first certification Monday, saying Trump “had the luxury of having an entire team” reexamine the deal before he decided whether to dismantle it.

“That time is up,” he said, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will make his announcement shortly.

The decision puts intense pressure on the White House.

Pulling out of the deal would upset allies who helped negotiate the deal and force the administration to come up with another strategy to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, a problem it is far from fixing in North Korea.

Yet the deal is very unpopular among many conservatives. John Bolton, an influential former ambassador, called for immediate withdrawal in an opinion column published Sunday in the Hill.    

“The administration should stop reviewing and start deciding,” he wrote.

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