UNITED NATIONS — President Donald Trump said Wednesday he made a decision on whether to abandon the Iranian denuclearization deal, but declined to disclose his position.
He has long criticized the pact as poorly brokered by former President Barack Obama.
“I have decided,” Trump repeated three times, smiling when prodded by reporters for more information.
“I’ll let you know what the decision is,” he said.
The 2015 accord suspended international sanctions on Iran in exchange for severely restricted uranium enrichment.
Trump called it an “embarrassment” to the United States in his address Tuesday before the UN General Assembly.
“We cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program,” he said.
On Wednesday, in his own General Assembly speech, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his would not be the first country to violate the pact. The United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany are other accord members.
Rouhani criticized Trump, though not by name.
“It will be a great pity if this agreement were destroyed by rogue newcomers to the world of politics,” Rouhani said, adding later, “By violating its international commitments, the new U.S. administration only destroys its credibility.”
Trump has until Oct. 15 certify to Congress whether Iran is in compliance with the deal.
It is “pretty difficult” to say Iran has met the expectations of the accord considering its continued antagonism, but “perhaps the technical aspects” are in compliance, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters late Wednesday.
Trump hasn’t shared his decision “externally,” not with even British Prime Minister Theresa May, who had asked him about it, Tillerson said.
At a meeting earlier Wednesday with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, Trump voiced confidence in his administration’s ability to negotiate “the toughest deal of all”: the ever-elusive Middle East peace.
“We’ll see if we can put it together,” Trump said. “Who knows? Stranger things have happened.”
Abbas wished a happy new year to both the Muslim and Jewish communities, calling it a “very sweet coincidence” that they could celebrate together in a 24-hour period.
“And if this is an indication to anything, it means that we can coexist peacefully together,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday: “Israel is committed to achieving peace with all our Arab neighbors, including the Palestinians.”
Also Wednesday, Trump reflected on his first major General Assembly address.
He had declared that the United States “will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” if forced to protect itself and its allies from the regime’s nuclear aspirations.
“After allowing North Korea to research and build Nukes while Secretary of State (Bill C also), Crooked Hillary now criticizes,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
Hillary Clinton, promoting her book Tuesday night on CBS’ “Late Show,” said, “I thought it was very dark, dangerous, not the kind of message that the leader of the greatest nation in the world should be delivering.”