US President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that he was pulling out of a “one-sided” Iran nuclear deal which was “defective at its core“.
The “disastrous deal” should never have been approved, Trump said, adding that it did not bring calm or peace and it never will.
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani hit back by saying Trump’s decision was illegal and violated international agreements.
In a televised address, Rouhani said Iran would hold talks with European countries, China and Russia in the coming weeks and stay in the deal if it gains what it wants through the accord.
Earlier, in his speech which the world listened with baited breath, Trump said the nuclear deal stands on a “decaying and rotten” foundation. If it is allowed to stand further, Iran will soon be acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons. The deal would trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East with every state wanting its weapons ready by the time Iran had theirs.
The inspection provisions in the deal lacks adequate mechanisms to prevent, detect, and punish cheating. It does not guarantee the right to inspect many important locations, including military facilities.
After the sanctions were lifted following the signing of the deal, Iran used its new funds to build nuclear-capable missiles, support terrorism,
and cause havoc throughout the Middle East and beyond, Trump said.
In the months ahead, the US will start reinstating its nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime and instituting the highest level of economic
sanctions. Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons will also face the toughest sanctions.
Washington will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail, and it will not allow “a regime (Iran) that chants ‘Death to America'”to access nuclear weapons, Trump said.
Later, speaking to reporters, he said his decision to withdraw from the deal would “make America much safer.”
He suggested that a new deal could be negotiated sometime in the future which would lead to the “peace and stability we all want in the Middle East,” pending Iran’s willingness.
Senior Democratic Senator Dick Burbin called the US withdrawal “a mistake of historic proportions.”
Responding to Trump’s announcement, French President Emmanuel Macron said France, Germany and the UK regret the decision.
The US pullout from the deal, although expected by its European allies, raised concern over a possible clash of views when US begins reimposing sanctions on Iran. Its European allies view the deal as the best possible solution and want it to continue as long as Iran follows the rules.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said they are “determined to preserve” the Iran nuclear deal despite the US withdrawal.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the other signatories of the deal to stick to their commitments.
Former US President Barack Obama described Trump’s decision as “misguided” and a “serious mistake”.
Trump’s withdrawal from the deal, besides driving a wedge between the US and its allies, will irk Russia and China who are also signatories of the deal.