Calling it a “disastrous deal,” President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that the U.S. will pull out of the international nuclear agreement with Iran and reinstate sanctions.
“It is clear to me that we can not prevent a nuclear Iran under the decaying structure of the current agreement,” Trump said. “Therefore I am announcing today that the U.S. will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.”
Trump has frequently complained the 2015 agreement to ease sanctions against Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program is a “disaster.”
He says it does nothing to stop Iran from testing ballistic missiles and says the deal lets certain nuclear-related provisions eventually expire.
Ahead of the announcement, Trump was under pressure from both sides, including European leaders who want the U.S. to stay in, and Israel, which accuses Iran of blatant lying and cheating.
French President Emanuel Macron was at the White House two weeks ago, saying he knows the deal with Iran is not perfect, but said there is no “Plan B.”
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was in Washington Monday, lobbying top Trump administration officials to stay in the pact. He met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and will talk later with Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Adviser John Bolton.
“At this delicate juncture, it would be a mistake to walk away from the nuclear agreement and remove the restraints that it places on Iran,” Johnson wrote in The New York Times.
“Now that these handcuffs are in place, I see no possible advantage in casting them aside. Only Iran would gain from abandoning the restrictions on its nuclear program.”
In a highly dramatic TV display last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought out what he said were “half a ton” of documents, charts, blueprints, and photographs proving Iran is still trying to build nuclear bombs despite the agreement.
“Iran lies, big time,” Netanyahu said.
Although international inspectors have certified Iran is abiding by the agreement, Trump said Netanyahu’s display shows “I’ve been 100% right” about Iran’s nuclear intentions.
Iran insists it has not violated the agreement and complains it has yet to see the economic benefits it was supposed to enjoy when sanctions were eased.
Tehran has always said it has no ambitions to build nuclear weapons but does have a right to a peaceful civilian nuclear program.
Prior to Trump’s announcement, Iran’s president anticipated the U.S. move but said Iran would move forward.
“It is possible that we will face some problems for two or three months, but we will pass through this,” President Hassan Rouhani said at a petroleum conference in Tehran Tuesday.
Iran’s state-run news agency said Rouhani will give a televised address after Trump’s announcement.