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News Wrap: U.S. delays steel and aluminum tariff decisions

In our news wrap Tuesday, the Trump administration gave itself another 30 days to decide whether to impose tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum from key U.S. allies. It granted the extension to the European Union, Canada and Mexico. Also, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency confirmed it's found no evidence of Iran having a nuclear weapons program after 2009.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The Trump administration has given itself another 30 days to decide whether to impose tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum from key U.S. allies.

    It granted the extension last night to the European Union, Canada and Mexico, amid ongoing trade negotiations. But in a statement today, the European commission criticized the reprieve, saying — quote — "As a longstanding partner and friend of the U.S., we will not negotiate under threat."

    The United Nations' nuclear watchdog confirmed today that it's found no evidence of Iran having a nuclear weapons program after 2009. But the agency says that Iran did have a coordinated nuclear program before 2003.

    This comes a day after Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of continuing to pursue nuclear weapons development, and breaking the Iran nuclear deal. He provided no direct evidence that Iran violated the 2015 agreement.

    Today, Tehran pushed back.

  • ALAEDDIN BOROUJERDI (through interpreter):

    We accepted to suspend our nuclear program on a condition of canceling all sanctions. And if the U.S. economic sanctions return, there would be no justification in front of the Iranian public opinion and the Iranian Parliament to stay in this deal.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Meanwhile, the White House says that a clerical error led to a drastic change in a statement that it issued yesterday, following Netanyahu's claims.

    The initial release read — quote — "Iran has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program." The White House later corrected it to read that Iran had such a program.

    Today, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Iran's nuclear weapons program was much further along at the time of the 2015 Iran deal than they let on.

  • SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS:

    We immediately corrected it.

    But, again, I think the biggest mistake is the fact that the United States ever entered into the Iran deal in the first place. That, to me, seems to be the biggest mistake in this process, not a simple typo that was immediately corrected and notified individuals as soon as we knew that it had happened.

    The problem is that the deal was made on a completely false pretense. Iran lied on the front end. They were dishonest actors. And so the deal that was made was made on things that were inaccurate.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Sanders wouldn't answer today if Iran is currently in compliance with the deal, as the nuclear watchdog has repeatedly confirmed.

    Syrian state media and a watchdog group said that at least 23 civilians were killed by airstrikes in one of the country's last remaining Islamic State-held enclaves today. Nearly half of those deaths were children. The bombardment struck a Northeast province where the U.S.-led coalition and Kurdish forces are fighting to drive out ISIS. It wasn't immediately clear who launched the strikes.

    In Nigeria, a pair of explosions killed at least 28 people at a mosque in the northeastern town of Mubi today. One witness said that a suicide bomber detonated a device during morning prayers, blowing the roof off the building. A second blast killed worshipers as they fled. Local officials believed the militant group Boko Haram was to blame.

    The opposition leader in the Asian nation of Armenia warned of a political tsunami today after Parliament voted down his bid to become the country's prime minister. Nikol Pashinyan ran unopposed after leading calls for Armenia's last prime minister to step down last month.

    Tens of thousands of Pashinyan's supporters protested the result in the streets of the capital and they vowed to keep up their fight.

  • MAN (through interpreter):

    People are upset. But this is not the end. This is only the beginning. People will unite. More people will join in. Nikol just said that there will be so many people, that it will not be possible to count. We will definitely win.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Armenia's constitution requires its Parliament to hold another vote for prime minister next week.

    South Korea's President Moon Jae-in has asked the United Nations to verify the North's planned shutdown of its main nuclear test site. The north's Kim Jong-un agreed to close the site at a historic summit last Friday. As part of their agreement, both the South and the North also dismantled dozens of large speakers today along the shared border that had been used to blare propaganda.

    Australian Cardinal George Pell pleaded not guilty today to decades of sex abuse charges, setting the stage for a trial by jury. Pell appeared in court in Melbourne. He's the highest-ranking Vatican official to be charged in the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal. The allegations stem from the 1970s to the 1990s, when Pell was the archbishop of Melbourne.

    Back in this country, California and 16 other states are suing the Trump administration over its plan to roll back vehicle emissions and gas mileage standards. The Environmental Protection Agency decided to scrap an Obama era rule requiring new vehicles to get 36 miles per gallon by 2025.

    In Sacramento, California Governor Jerry Brown insisted that easing emissions standards will do more harm than good.

  • GOV. JERRY BROWN:

    We're losing the battle on climate change. We have got to step up our efforts, and things will get dramatically worse, irreversibly so, if we don't make a big turn. And part of that big turn will be in the combustion engine, zero-emission vehicles, and all the other things we're trying to do.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The states named in the lawsuit argue that the EPA's effort to loosen emissions rules violates the Clean Air Act.

    Meanwhile, two top aides to embattled EPA Chief Scott Pruitt stepped down today, amid federal ethics investigations. Albert Kelly, a former banker who ran the EPA's Superfund program, and security chief Pasquale "Nino" Perrotta both submitted their resignations. Pruitt gave no reason for their departures. But both men's names had been mentioned in ongoing probes into Pruitt's ethics and travel.

    And stocks were mixed on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 64 points to close at 24099. The Nasdaq rose 64 points, and the S&P 500 added six.

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