President Donald Trump announced Tuesday his decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.
“It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement,” Trump said from the White House. “The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen.”
“In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons,” he added. “Therefore I am announcing today the the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.”
The announcement starts a 90-day countdown to the restoration of sanctions. Once sanctions are re-imposed, the U.S. effectively would be out of the deal, Fox News reported.
Trump had been highly critical of the agreement, formally titled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which Iran, France, Great Britain, Russia, China, Germany and the United States entered into in July 2015.
In exchange for relief from economic sanctions and the release of more than $150 billion in frozen financial assets, Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear weapons program for a 10-year period.
“If I allowed this deal to stand, there would soon be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East,” Trump said of the JCPOA’s sunset provision in 2025. “Everyone would want their weapons ready by the time Iran had theirs.”
— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 8, 2018
“Making matters worse, the deal’s inspection provisions lack adequate mechanisms to prevent, detect and punish cheating,” the president added, “and we don’t even have the unqualified right to inspect many important locations including military facilities.”
Former President Barack Obama never submitted the deal to the Senate for ratification as a treaty, so Trump maintained the full authority to withdraw the United States from the plan unilaterally.
During visits to the United States last month, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Trump to stay in the deal.
Both argued that a separate agreement could be negotiated to include concerns Trump has expressed about the JCPOA, including its short time frame of 10 years (three of which have already passed), Iran’s testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the regime’s support for terrorist groups and its role in civil wars in Yemen and Syria.
Last month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned Trump there would be “grave consequences” if he pulled the United States out of the agreement
“If someone wants to betray our nation and the deal, grave consequences will affect them,” Rouhani told supporters in his country, CBS News reported.
Rouhani offered a more measured response on Tuesday, saying, “It is possible that we will face some problems for two or three months, but we will pass through this,” according to Fox News.
However, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Hossein Salami took a bellicose tone, coupling the United States and Israel.
“Our enemies including America, the Zionist regime (Israel) and (their) allies in the region should know Iran has prepared for the worst scenarios and threats,” he said.
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of lying about its nuclear weapons program during negotiations for the JCPOA.
“Iran lied, big time,” Netanyahu said in an address to Israelis. “After signing the nuclear deal in 2015, Iran intensified its efforts to hide its secret nuclear files.”
He added, “In 2017, Iran moved its nuclear weapons files to a highly secret location in Tehran. Few Iranians knew where it was, very few, and also a few Israelis.”
“The Iran deal, the nuclear deal is based on lies; 100,000 files right here, prove that they lied,” Netanyahu said.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry, who helped negotiate the JCPOA, called on Trump to stay in the deal ahead of the president’s announcement. Kerry reportedly recently met with officials from Iran, France, Germany and the European Union.
“Our friends are safer if we stay in this agreement,” Kerry told CNN. “We made an agreement, Iran is living by the agreement. Yes we have concerns on the missiles and Yemen and other things, but we should be working on those.
“The Obama administration made a clear decision that working on those other issues, making progress on those, is easier with an Iran that does not have a nuclear weapon than with an Iran which is working toward one,” he added.
Trump responded on Twitter to the former secretary of state’s meetings, “John Kerry can’t get over the fact that he had his chance and blew it! Stay away from negotiations John, you are hurting your country!”
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