January 6, 2020 / 3:35 PM / 13 days ago

UPDATE 1-White House says Trump could still renegotiate Iran nuclear deal

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WASHINGTON, Jan 6 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump is confident he could still renegotiate a nuclear deal with Tehran, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said on Monday, a day after Iran announced it would retreat further from the 2015 nuclear pact.

Asked if Trump believes he can still get Iran to negotiate a new nuclear agreement, Conway told reporters at the White House: “He said he’s open. If Iran wants to start behaving like a normal country... sure, absolutely.”

Trump later took to Twitter to reiterate the White House stance that “Iran will never have a nuclear weapon” but gave no other details.

Conway also defended Trump’s decision last week to kill one of Iran’s top military commanders, saying the president “did what a responsible, strong - not weak - commander-in-chief does when faced with the opportunity to take out one of the - if not the - world’s most wanted terrorists.”

Iran has said it will not renegotiate the nuclear deal, which Trump abandoned in 2018, triggering a sharp decline in relations between Tehran and Washington.

Tehran has already breached many of the deal’s restrictions on its nuclear activities and on Sunday said it would abandon limitations on enriching uranium. But it said it would still continue to cooperate with the U.N. nuclear watchdog and could quickly reverse its steps if U.S. sanctions are removed.

Trump’s administration has pursued a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran that it said could help pressure Tehran to come to the negotiating table. Trump has previously said he is open to talks with Tehran. (Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Dan Grebler)

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