On Tuesday, President Trump announced his plans to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement and reinstate sanctions that the U.S. had lifted from Tehran in exchange for dismantling of the nation’s nuclear weapons program.
President Trump, who has called the agreement the “worst deal ever,” also plans to impose more economic penalties on Iran. The president has argued that the deal doesn’t address concerns involving Tehran’s ballistic missile program, its nuclear program after the year 2025 or the nation’s role in ongoing struggles in Yemen and Syria.
“The so-called Iran deal was supposed to protect the United States and our allies from the lunacy of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a weapon that will only endanger the survival of the Iranian regime,” President Trump said. “In fact, the deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium and over time reach the brink of a nuclear blackout.”
Watch President Trump’s statements:
Trump announced that the U.S. “will be instituting the highest level of economic sanctions.”
“Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States,” he said.
Trump added: “America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail. … The United States no longer makes empty threats. When I make promises, I keep them.”
Read the presidential memorandum issued Tuesday and titled, “Ceasing U.S. Participation in the JCPOA and Taking Additional Action to Counter Iran’s Malign Influence and Deny Iran All Paths to A Nuclear Weapon.”
The nation has insisted it won’t honor terms of the 2015 deal if the U.S. re-imposes sanctions. Some experts have warned that American withdrawal from the deal will risk escalated conflict in the Middle East, anger European allies and wreak havoc on global oil supplies.
On Tuesday, Iran President Hasan Rouhani warned of “problems” if the U.S. pulls out of the deal, but he said the nation will “pass through this.”
“It is possible that we will face some problems for two or three months,” Rouhani said, “but we will pass through this.”
Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri insisted U.S. withdraw will send a message to other nations that the U.S. doesn’t honor its agreements.
“Today, the biggest power in the world is yelling that it does not accept it (the deal),” Jahangiri said, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency. “It’s up to them what to do with the deal, but (from now on) naive individuals would accept to enter talks with such a country.”
He continued, “We are ready and have a plan for managing the country under any circumstance.”
Both French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Washington recently, and the Iran deal was a major topic during their visits.
President Trump has said Iran failed to honor its side of the agreement, particularly with regard to its ballistic missiles, inspections on suspected nuclear sites and moves to destabilize the Middle East.
On Tuesday, former President Barack Obama called the withdrawal “a serious mistake” and said it will hurt America’s global credibility.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a “brave and correct decision.”
However, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “France, Germany and the UK regret the US decision to leave the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]. The nuclear non-proliferation regime is at stake.”
The following countries said they will continue to abide by the agreement, which they also signed: China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.K.
Upon hearing the announcement of the withdrawal, conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh declared: “This was right between the eyes. When it actually happens, the power of this, hit me. This is dramatic, what happened just now. To realize a major accomplishment of the Obama administration has just been erased, this is a big deal, folks. … The Obama legacy to America is the Trump administration.”
In mid-March, news reports indicated President Trump abruptly fired former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson because Tillerson went “rogue” and tried to salvage the U.S. role in the Iran deal. The reason for Tillerson’s firing was revealed by the Washington Free Beacon in a report that cited “multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.” The Free Beacon stated:
In the weeks leading up to Tillerson’s departure, he had been spearheading efforts to convince European allies to agree to a range of fixes to the nuclear deal that would address Iran’s ongoing ballistic missile program and continued nuclear research.
While Trump had prescribed a range of fixes that he viewed as tightening the deal’s flaws, Tillerson recently caved to European pressure to walk back these demands and appease Tehran while preserving the deal, according to these sources. …
White House allies warned Tillerson’s senior staff for weeks that efforts to save the nuclear deal and balk on Trump’s key demands regarding the deal could cost Tillerson his job, a warning that became reality Tuesday when Trump fired Tillerson by tweet.
Multiple sources told the Free Beacon that the former secretary of state repeatedly tried to push his own diplomatic agenda, especially on Iran, and the Trump administration simply had enough.
President Trump selected CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace Tillerson. Pompeo served in Congress and has a history of drawing a hard line on Iran. He is expected to advocate many of the solutions proposed by President Trump such as banning Iran’s ballistic missile program and pushing for strict penalties.
The president also fired national security adviser H.R. McMaster on March 22 and announced that former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton would take his place.
During an exclusive interview with WND in February 2016, John Bolton, who has since become President Trump’s national security adviser, said Iran has learned that the U.S. will “surrender” if it is persistent enough.
“[The deal] gives Iran all of the economic advantages—the unfreezing of the assets, the lifting of the sanctions—and does not put any material barriers in the way of their continuing to develop deliverable nuclear weapons,” Bolton said. “They’re going to be able to conceal what they’re doing from the [International Atomic Energy Agency]. They’re not going to do it at the sites the IAEA knows about; they’re going to do it elsewhere, maybe including in North Korea.”
He said the Obama administration sent the signal to nations that are hostile to the U.S. that “the door is open.”
I just think it’s a lesson to would-be nuclear weapons states and states that are hostile to the United States that, at least in this administration, the door is open.
Before President Trump was elected to the White House, WND asked Bolton, “What’s the best way for the U.S. to handle an Iran that refuses to abide by the terms of the nuclear deal?”
He replied: “The new president ought to abrogate the deal immediately. … You step up intelligence activities in Iran and with respect to North Korea. You’ve got to work the North Korea side of it as well, because I do think there’s cooperation both on ballistic missiles and the nuclear side. And you go back to our Arab friends – the Saudis, the Egyptians and others – and say, ‘Sanity has been restored in Washington. Now let’s talk seriously about what we’re going to do together.'”
Bolton added: “If politically you say we have no choice but to live with the deal, then you’re saying politically we have no choice but to accept a nuclear Iran. And I don’t accept that.”
On Tuesday, Bolton warned that nobody should sign new business contracts with Iran.