US withdrawing from Iran nuclear deal – Trump

WASHINGTON, President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he was pulling the US out of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran.

During a White House appearance, Trump said “the Iran deal is defective at its core. … Therefore I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.” Trump then signed a presidential memorandum that he said was “reinstating nuclear sanctions” against the Iranian regime.

“America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail” by Iran, he said.

The agreement, negotiated among Iran and key US allies in Europe, lifted most US and international sanctions against Iran in exchange for restrictions, including rigorous inspections, that would make it impossible for Iran to produce a nuclear bomb.

Illustrating the sharp break by the US from its allies on the issue, senior officials from Britain, France and Germany met in Brussels with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, Abbas Araghchi, and underlined their support for the agreement.

Critics of Trump’s views on the issue have said that if the deal collapses, Iran would be free to resume prohibited enrichment activities. The Trump move will also mean that businesses and banks doing business with Iran will have to reassess their activities or face potential problems with the US going forward.

In a statement released by the White House immediately after Trump’s remarks, the White House said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) “failed to protect America’s national security interests.” The White House statement, which mostly repeated Trump’s main talking points, said the JCPOA “enriched the Iranian regime and enabled its malign behavior, while at best delaying its ability to pursue nuclear weapons and allowing it to preserve nuclear research and development.” Trump has directed his administration “to immediately begin the process of re-imposing sanctions related to the JCPOA,” the statement said.

The re-imposed sanctions will target “critical sectors” of Iran’s economy, such as its energy, petrochemical and financial sectors, it said.

“Those doing business in Iran will be provided a period of time to allow them to wind down operations in or business involving Iran,” the statement said. “Those who fail to wind down such activities with Iran by the end of the period will risk severe consequences.” US withdrawal from the JCPOA “will pressure the Iranian regime to alter its course of malign activities and ensure that Iranian bad acts are no longer rewarded,” the White House said. “As a result, both Iran and its regional proxies will be put on notice. As importantly, this step will help ensure global funds stop flowing toward illicit terrorist and nuclear activities.” Intelligence recently released by Israel “provides compelling details about Iran’s past secret efforts to develop nuclear weapons, which it lied about for years,” the White House said. “The intelligence further demonstrates that the Iranian regime did not come clean about its nuclear weapons activity, and that it entered the JCPOA in bad faith.” The agreement failed to deal with the threat of Iran’s missile program and did not include a strong enough mechanism for inspections and verification, the statement said.

“The JCPOA foolishly gave the Iranian regime a windfall of cash and access to the international financial system for trade and investment,” it said. “Instead of using the money from the JCPOA to support the Iranian people at home, the regime has instead funded a military buildup and continues to fund its terrorist proxies, such as Hezbollah and Hamas.” Iran violated the laws and regulations of European countries to counterfeit the currency of its neighbor, Yemen, to support the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force’s destabilizing activities, the White House said.

Trump “will work to assemble a broad coalition of nations to deny Iran all paths to a nuclear weapon and to counter the totality of the regime’s malign activities,” the statement said.

In addition to never developing a nuclear weapon, the Iranian regime must never have an intercontinental ballistic missile, cease developing any nuclear-capable missiles and stop proliferating ballistic missiles to others, the White House said.

The regime also must “cease its support for terrorists, extremists and regional proxies such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda; end its publicly declared quest to destroy Israel; stop its threats to freedom of navigation, especially in the Arabian Gulf and Red Sea; cease escalating the Yemen conflict and destabilizing the region by proliferating weapons to the Houthis; end its cyber-attacks against the United States and our allies, including Israel; stop its grievous human rights abuses, shown most recently in the regime’s crackdown against widespread protests by Iranian citizens; and stop its unjust detention of foreigners, including United States citizens,” the White House said.

Source: Kuwait News Agency