President Donald Trump defied the pleas of his European allies and pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, vowing to reimpose crippling sanctions on Tehran and warning that Iranians deserve a better government.
His decision itself came as little surprise — the US leader has long scorned what he called the “disastrous” 2015 accord — but his suggestion that the regime must change underlined the risks of a dangerous new escalation in the Middle East.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promised that Washington will work with its friends to build a new agreement to curtail Iran’s alleged quest for nuclear weapons — but there was no disguising that Trump’s decision marked a stark diplomatic defeat for Europe, whose leaders had begged him to think again.
“I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal,” Trump declared in a White House address, branding the landmark 2015 accord that was endorsed by Britain, China, Germany, Russia and Barack Obama’s previous US administration “defective at its core.”
Trump — who enjoys close ties with Iran’s foes Saudi Arabia and Israel — said he had consulted America’s friends in the Middle East and concluded “that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement.”
“America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail,” Trump vowed. “We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction and we will not allow a regime that chants ‘Death to America’ to gain access to the most deadly weapons on Earth.”
Trump’s hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton said that European firms would have a “wind down” period to cancel any investments made in Iran under the terms of the accord, after the world agreed to give Tehran sanctions relief in return for it scaling back its enrichment program and placing its nuclear industry under international inspection.
But there was no disguising the dismay in European capitals, whose diplomats see the deal as the best way of keeping tabs on Iran’s ambitions while heading off the risk of a destabilizing new arms race in the Middle East, where tensions are already soaring between Tehran and both Israel and the Gulf monarchies.
“France, Germany, and the UK regret the US decision to leave the JCPOA (Iran deal). The nuclear non-proliferation regime is at stake,” France’s President Emmanuel Macron wrote.
“We will work collectively on a broader framework, covering nuclear activity, the post-2025 period, ballistic activity, and stability in the Middle-East, notably Syria, Yemen, and Iraq,” he added.
Other Notable Reactions:
- Obama says Trump’s Iran decision “misguided”, a ‘serious mistake,’ warns it will erode America’s global credibility.
- UN chief calls on other signatories to stand by Iran nuclear deal. Gutierrez expressed his strong concern over the American withdrawal from the agreement.
- Iran’s president says if negotiations fail, Islamic Republic will enrich uranium ‘more than before … in next weeks’, adding that Trump decision on Iran is “psychological warfare”.
- President Rouhani adds he will discuss Trump decision with Europe, Russia, China
- Israeli prime minister praises Trump’s Iran decision, says 2015 deal was ‘recipe for disaster’.
- Meanwhile some reports from Pentagon officials suggest to say they are seeing signs that Iran is preparing to strike Israel, perhaps from Syria.
- French president Macron says France, Britain and Germany regret Trump’s decision to quit Iran nuclear deal.
- UAE joins Bahrain and Saudi in welcoming Trump decision to leave Iran Nuclear deal