• Tehran prepares to restart uranium enrichment
• UN, EU, Obama, US Democrats, Israel, France, Saudi, Belgium, Russia, UK react
President Donald Trump announced yesterday the United States is quitting the Iran nuclear deal, pitting him against the United States’ closest allies and leaving the future of Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in question.
“It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement,” Trump said from the White House Diplomatic Room. “The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing we know exactly what will happen.”
The decision further isolates Trump on the global stage, where he has angered even the staunchest US allies by reneging on US commitments to the Paris climate accord and pulling out of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Other signatories to the plan, including Germany, France and the United Kingdom have said they will maintain their commitments.
In a swift reaction, Iran’s President Rouhani said: “I have ordered Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran to be ready to start the enrichment of uranium at industrial levels. We will wait a few weeks and speak with our allies and those committed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“All depends on our national interests.” He said Trump has ‘a history of undermining international treaties”Iranian state television said that Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal was “illegal, illegitimate and undermines international agreements”.
In announcing his decision, Trump said he would initiate new sanctions on the regime, crippling the touchstone agreement negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama who has reacted to the decision saying: “There are few issues more important to the security of the US than the potential spread of nuclear weapons or the potential for even more destructive war in the Middle East. Today’s decision to put the JCPOA at risk is a serious mistake.” Trump said any country that helps Iran obtain nuclear weapons would also be “strongly sanctioned.”
“This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” the President said. “It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”Trump derided the deal as an embarrassment that gave the regime dollars at the same time it sponsored terrorism.
“At the point when the US had maximum leverage, this disastrous deal gave this regime and it’s a regime of great terror, many billions of dollars, some of it in actually cash, a great embarrassment to me as a citizen,” Trump said.
The sanctions could take months to go into effect as the US government develops guidance for companies and banks. But reapplying the sanctions which were lifted in exchange for Iran’s commitment to curb its nuclear program will effectively cripple the 2015 accord that Trump has deemed a disaster.
Meanwhile United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he is deeply concerned by the US decision to withdraw from Iran nuclear deal, and calls on all other parties to fully abide by deal’s commitments. United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron emphasised their “continuing commitment” to the deal in a joint statement.
“We encourage Iran to show restraint in response to the decision by the US; Iran must continue to meet its own obligations under the deal, co-operating fully and in a timely manner.”
The EU’s Foreign Minister, Federica Mogherini said Europe is “determined to preserve” the Iran deal. The EU’s top diplomat said she expects the “rest of the international community to continue implementing the Iran nuclear deal. The
Iran nuclear deal is working and delivering, to ensure Tehran doesn’t develop nuclear weapons.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel fully supports President Trump’s announcement to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy says Moscow is “disappointed” about the decision but “not surprised”.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted against Trump’s decision to leave the Iran deal.
In his first tweet, he said France, Germany, and the UK regret the U.S. decision to leave the JCPOA. The nuclear non-proliferation regime is at stake.
In another tweet, he added: “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.”
Saudi Arabia, a Sunni Muslim power that considers Shi’ite Iran to be its main regional foe, also hailed Trump’s decision:
“Iran used economic gains from the lifting of sanctions to continue its activities to destabilize the region, particularly by developing ballistic missiles and supporting terrorist groups in the region,” said a statement carried on Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said scrapping the Iran deal meant more instability in the Middle East and said he “deeply regrets” the announcement by Trump: “EU and its international partners must remain committed and Iran must continue to fulfill its obligations.”
Turkey’s economy minister says the country will continue to trade with Iran within set frameworks “until the end”.
Obama era Secretary of State John Kerry, who helped negotiate the original deal, issued a statement criticising Trump’s decision.