WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said the United States would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, in the latest reversal of one his predecessor’s signature initiatives.
In a statement delivered at the White House, Trump said he will reimpose the “highest level” of economic sanctions on Iran.
“This was a horrible, one-sided deal that never should have been made,” Trump said.
“At the heart of the Iran deal was a giant fiction — that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear energy program. Today we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie,” Trump said.
Iran agreed to curb the development of its nuclear program and to comply with a system of inspections in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
Intelligence officials, including director of national intelligence Dan Coats and CIA director Mike Pompeo said in recent congressional testimony that they had found no evidence that Iran was not in compliance. But Trump cited Israeli intelligence presented by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week to make the claim that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.
Trump also said that with the lifting of sanctions, Iran’s government has gotten access to financial markets and has continued to fund terrorist activities of Hezbollah and Hamas.
The deal was a signature foreign policy achievement of President Barack Obama’s administration. The agreement was between Iran and six world powers, including the U.S., the U.K., China, France, Russia, and Germany.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who urged Trump to remain in the deal, said on Twitter, “France, Germany, and the UK regret the U.S. decision to leave the [nuclear deal]. The nuclear non-proliferation regime is at stake.”
“Iran is a country that adheres to its commitments. And the U.S. Is a country that has never adhered to its commitments,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in an address. He said that he had ordered his foreign minister to negotiate with other countries to retain the deal.
Trump said that they did consult with allies over recent months, but “it is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement.
“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 said that they will be “working with our allies to find a real, comprehensive, and lasting solution to the Iranian nuclear threat.” He also argued that Iran’s leaders will “want to make a new and lasting deal, one that benefits all of Iran and the Iranian people.”
Obama issued a rare statement, calling the decision a “serious mistake.”
He said that “the United States could eventually be left with a losing choice between a nuclear-armed Iran or another war in the Middle East. We all know the dangers of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. It could embolden an already dangerous regime; threaten our friends with destruction; pose unacceptable dangers to America’s own security; and trigger an arms race in the world’s most dangerous region.”