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Trump to unveil new responses to Iranian 'bad behaviour': White House
[WASHINGTON] President Donald Trump will announce new US responses to Iran's missile tests, support for "terrorism" and cyber operations as part of his new Iran strategy, the White House said on Friday.
"The president isn't looking at one piece of this. He's looking at all of the bad behavior of Iran," Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, told reporters.
"Not just the nuclear deal as bad behavior, but the ballistic missile testing, destabilising of the region, Number One state sponsor of terrorism, cyber attacks, illicit nuclear programme," Ms Sanders continued.
Mr Trump "wants to look for a broad strategy that addresses all of those problems, not just one-offing those," she said. "That's what his team is focused on and that's what he'll be rolling out to address that as a whole in the coming days."
A senior administration official told Reuters on Thursday that Mr Trump was expected to announce he will decertify the landmark international deal curbing Iran's nuclear programme, in a step that could cause the accord to unravel.
The administration was considering Oct 12 for Mr Trump to give a speech on Iran, but no final decision had been made, an official said previously.
It was not clear to what illicit nuclear programme Ms Sanders was referring as the International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal reached with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union.
The Trump administration also has acknowledged that Iran has not breached the accord's Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, but contends that it has violated the "spirit" of the deal.
A senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Friday that steps Mr Trump is reviewing also include imposing targeted sanctions in response to Iran's ballistic missile tests, cyber espionage and backing of Lebanese Hezbollah and other groups on the US list of foreign terrorist organisations.
Last month, current and former US officials told Reuters the broader strategy Mr Trump is weighing is expected to allow more aggressive US actions to counter what the administration views as Iran's efforts to boost its military muscle and expand its regional influence through proxy forces.
Under a 2015 US law, Mr Trump has until Oct 15 to certify to Congress that Iran is complying with the JCPOA. If he decides to decertify, lawmakers would have 60 days in which to consider reimposing US sanctions on Iran lifted under the deal, an action that many experts warn could unhinge the accord.
Knowledgeable sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, have said the administration is looking for ways to fix what it views as serious flaws without necessarily killing the deal.
Critics say the flaws include the so-called sunset clauses, under which some of the restrictions on Iran's nuclear programme expire over time.
Mr Trump's national security adviser, General HR McMaster, met with Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday in an effort to win their support for the strategy.