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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

WATCH: Trump announces decision on Iran nuclear deal

US President Donald Trump is set to announce whether he is to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal

An Iranian woman walks past a mural on the wall of the former US embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran on May 8, 2018. US President Donald Trump is due to make his decision on whether to rip up the 2015 nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran. Atta Kenare / AFP
An Iranian woman walks past a mural on the wall of the former US embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran on May 8, 2018. US President Donald Trump is due to make his decision on whether to rip up the 2015 nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran. Atta Kenare / AFP

US President Donald Trump is set to announce whether he is to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal signed between Tehran and world powers in 2015 and reimpose sanctions lifted as part of that agreement.

The US leader has been a longtime critic of the pact negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama that sought to rein in Iran's nuclear programme in return for the lifting of crippling international sanctions.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Mr Trump told his French President Emmanuel Macron that he will leave the deal, despite the leader's attempts to sway his American counterpart on a recent visit to Washington. The French presidency denied the report, saying that Mr Trump had given no indication of his decision in the phone call.

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A person briefed on their telephone conversation told the newspaper that Mr Trump is preparing to reinstate all sanctions it had waived as part of the nuclear accord, as well as imposing additional economic penalties on the country.

While Mr Trump is widely expected to leave the deal, whether it is a soft or hard exit remains unclear.

If he does leave it would be a promise kept from the campaign trail, but one that will be opposed by some of Washington's key allies, including France, Britain and Germany.

Oil prices dived as much as 3.5 per cent as traders sold off on a CNN report that sparked doubts about whether US President Donald Trump would impose sanctions on Iran as quickly as the market had expected.

US stocks wavered between small gains and losses on Tuesday morning as trading turned choppy after an early slide. Losses in health care, energy and other sectors outweighed gains in banks and industrial companies.

Iranian officials warned the US leader against leaving the deal, saying they would not remain passive in that event.

Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani accused the US of breaching its commitment to the deal and Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri said it would be “naive” for the country’s officials to negotiate with the US again.

Mr Trump’s decision was set against a backdrop of numerous fiery exchanges between his administration and the Iranian regime about the validity of the agreement.

The US does not accuse Iran of breaching the deal, rather that it provided Iran with lucrative sums of money that it can use to boost its ballistic missile arsenal and funding of proxy groups across the Middle East, such as Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah.

Mr Trump has frequently criticised the Iran accord because it does not address Iran's ballistic missile program, its nuclear activities beyond 2025, nor its role in conflicts in Yemen and Syria.

The key stumbling block for Mr Trump is the “sunset clause” in the deal that lifts limits on Iran’s nuclear programme exactly 10 years after it came into force.

His decision will come just over a week after Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented to the world the “Atomic Archive,” what he called evidence of a “secret” Iranian nuclear weapons programme that breached the agreement.

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