Washington: President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that the US is pulling out of the nuclear accord with Iran, declaring he’s making the world safer.
“The United States does not make empty threats,” he said in a televised address from the White House Diplomatic Room.
Trump said the 2015 agreement, which included Germany, France and Britain, was a “horrible one-sided deal that should never ever have been made.” He added that the United States “will be instituting the highest level of economic sanctions.”
The Iran agreement, struck in 2015 by the United States, other world powers and Iran, lifted most U.S. and international sanctions against the country. In return, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program making it impossible to produce a bomb, along with rigorous inspections.
Trump said he would move to re-impose all sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 deal, not just the ones facing an immediate deadline. This had become known informally as the "nuclear option" because of the near-certainty that such a move would scuttle the deal.
Trump’s decision means Iran’s government must now decide whether to follow the U.S. and withdraw or try to salvage what’s left of the deal. Iran has offered conflicting statements about what it may do — and the answer may depend on exactly how Trump exits the agreement.
Trump spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese leader Xi Jinping about his decision Tuesday. The British foreign secretary traveled to Washington this week to make a last-minute pitch to the U.S. to remain in the deal, according to a senior British diplomat. The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the British objective will remain to uphold and maintain the deal, according to Associated Press.
Hours before the announcement, European countries met to underline their support for the agreement. Senior officials from Britain, France and Germany met in Brussels with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, Abbas Araghchi.
Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani soon after Trump's address said Tehran will bypass Washington and negotiate with the other signatories of a multinational nuclear deal, calling the US withdrawal from the landmark pact "unacceptable".
"If we achieve the deal's goals in cooperation with other members of the deal, it will remain in place. By exiting the deal, America has officially undermined its commitment to an international treaty", he added.
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