President Donald Trump will withdraw the United States from the landmark nuclear accord with Iran, a move which will almost surely ensure its collapse. Trump announced the decision at a press conference Tuesday at the White House.
“This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” Trump said. “It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will”, he added.
Trump’s aides and allies were quick to defend the decision.
“President Trump has been consistent and clear that this administration is resolved to addressing the totality of Iran’s destabilising activities”, US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said. “We will continue to work with our allies to build an agreement that is truly in the best interest of our long-term national security”.
Trump’s Republican allies also defended the president’s decision with House majority leader Kevin McCarthy telling Fox News: “This is something the president campaigned on”. “I think President Trump understands foreign policy … If our main goal here is not to have Iran have a nuclear weapon, I would trust this president to actually get it done,” he added.
The sentiment from Europe was disappointment. “France, Germany and the United Kingdom regret the US decision to get out of the Iranian nuclear deal,” French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted. “The international regime against nuclear proliferation is at stake”.
In a burst of last-minute diplomacy, punctuated by a visit by Britain's top diplomat, the deal’s European members gave in to many of Trump’s demands, according to officials, diplomats and others briefed on the negotiations. Yet they still left convinced he was likely to re-impose sanctions and walk away from the deal he had lambasted since his days as a presidential candidate.
Hanging in the balance Tuesday was the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal struck by the United States, Iran and world powers that lifted most US and international sanctions against the country. In return, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program making it impossible to produce a bomb, along with rigorous inspections.
Iran will now be free to resume prohibited enrichment activities, while businesses and banks doing business with Iran will have to scramble to extricate themselves or run afoul of the US.
As they braced for an expected withdrawal, US officials were dusting off plans for how to sell a pullout to the public and explain its complex financial ramifications, said officials and others, who weren’t authorised to speak ahead of an announcement and requested anonymity.