US President Donald Trump declared that the US will exit the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an agreement under which the United States was obligated to ease crippling economic restrictions on Iran under periodic “waivers” that technically suspended sanctions.
“I am announcing today the US will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal,” Trump announced from the White House on Tuesday afternoon.
The US president pulled no punches in his address, noting, “the Iranian promise was a lie,” in reference to the Islamic Republic’s assurances under the agreement, which he also called a “giant fiction.”
Starting during his presidential campaign, Trump has threatened to extricate the US from what has referred to as the “worst deal ever negotiated.” Trump’s stated reasons were Iran’s unabated development of ballistic missiles, its role stoking bloody wars in Syria and Yemen, and the fact that Iran lied about its nuclear weapons program.
With regard to the last point, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented half a ton of evidence last week demonstrating that Iran had not only been developing nuclear weapons, but also meticulously preserved the records related to the program. Israeli intelligence services succeeded in spiriting the records out of Iran, which many saw as a smoking gun proving that Iran had lied repeatedly in the run-up to the nuclear deal’s conclusion.
On Tuesday, Trump referred explicitly to this evidence, in addition to a litany of Iran’s terror activity throughout the regime’s 40-year history and its “bloody ambitions [which] have only grown more brazen” since the deal was signed.
“The deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium . . . in exchange for very weak limits on the regime’s activities,”
Trump lamented, referring also to Iran’s “sinister activities in Syria, Yemen and other places around the world.”
“America will not be held hostage,” Trump warned, promising to “reinstate nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime… [and] the highest level of economic sanctions.”
European leaders have remained in favor of keeping the deal, with nations such as Germany heavily involved in business dealings with the Islamic Republic that will undoubtedly be curtailed when US sanctions are reinstated.
Middle East nations such as Israel, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia have remained wary of Iran’s escalating aggression. Operating out of military locations in Syria, the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps has amassed considerable Iranian military assets in the civil war-ravaged nation.
With sanctions set to “snap back” in the wake of Trump’s announcement, foreign companies will be subject to US penalties if they do business with Iranian entities.
While Iranian President Hassan Rouhani claimed on Monday that Iran could remain in the nuclear deal even if the US gets out, he warned that Tehran will continue to resist US attempts to curtail Iran’s influence in the region.
Trump ended his Tuesday address on a positive note, stating, “The future of Iran belongs to its people . . . they deserve a nation that does justice to their dreams.”