US President Donald Trump says he will withdraw the US from an Obama-era nuclear agreement with Iran. Calling it “decaying and rotten”, he said the deal was “an embarrassment” to him “as a citizen”.
Going against advice from European allies, he said he would reimpose economic sanctions that were waived when the deal was signed in 2015. In response, Iran said it was preparing to restart uranium enrichment, key for making both nuclear energy and weapons. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said: “The US has announced that it doesn’t respect its commitments. “I have ordered the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran to be ready to start the enrichment of uranium at industrial levels.”
He said he would “wait a few weeks” to speak to allies and the other signatories to the nuclear deal first. “If we achieve the deal’s goals in cooperation with other members of the deal, it will remain in place,” he said.
President Trump told President Emmanuel Macron of France on Tuesday morning that he plans to announce the withdrawal of the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, according to a person briefed on the conversation. The move, while honouring a campaign promise, has alienated the European allies, which insisted their opposition to Trump’s decision.
The US President has repeatedly threatened to pull out of the agreement signed by his predecessor in 2015. In recent weeks, Trump said that the agreement does not adequately address the ballistic missiles programme of the Middle Eastern country while it does not permanently forbid Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Moreover, Trump says that the agreement does not curb Tehran’s role in the ongoing conflicts in Yemen and Syria.
The landmark agreement eased economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran limiting its nuclear programme. Signed by the P5+1 group of countries: the UK, Russia, China, UK, France and Germany, the deal developed from negotiations that started in 2003. European leaders now warn that US withdrawal from the deal would undo years of progress.
Supporters of the agreement fear that pulling out of the agreement will spark new tensions into an already volatile region. The scenario would also have an affect on oil markets as Iran is a major exporter.
Trump said in a tweet on Monday that he would make an announcement regarding the deal on Tuesday.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on television that the most important thing for the country is to stand on its two feet.
“One man in one country might create some problems for us for a few months, but we will overcome those problems,” said Rouhani, while the central bank chief said that the country is prepared for all scenarios.
Sources: BBC, Reuters, New York Times