President Trump let his dissatisfaction with the Iran nuclear deal be known today, furthering speculation that the U.S. would be pulling out of the agreement. The U.S., along with France, Germany, China, Russia, and Britain, struck a deal with Iran in 2015 that halted that country’s nuclear program.
The Iranian government had long maintained its nuclear program was peaceful, meant only to produce alternative sources of energy. The international community has long suspected Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons though.
The President made his comments during numerous press availabilities while welcoming French President Emmanuel Macron to the White House for President Trump’s first state dinner. The President’s and Macron’s friendship is seen as bourgeoning.
A decision on the pact is expected to be made soon. May 12 is a deadline for the U.S. to decide whether to re-impose economic sanctions that were rolled back under the guidelines of the deal. Trump waived those sanctions prior to the last deadline in January, but vowed not to do it again.
The U.S. president must notify Congress every 90 days as to whether Iran is fulfilling its requirements under the deal’s terms. President Trump de-certified the deal under U.S. law in October saying that the sanctions relief that Iran received was disproportionate to the concessions they had to make in return, but kept the waivers in place.
It’s widely expected that Macron will attempt to convince President Trump to keep the U.S. in the deal during his visit.
The President wants the terms of the deal expanded to include Iran’s non-nuclear, ballistic missile program. He also wants Iran’s human-rights abuses, as well as their alleged state sponsoring of terror in places like Syria, Yemen and Lebanon addressed as well.
Iran has previously said that it will not accept any change in the deal, nor will it take any additional actions beyond its commitments.
The rhetoric between the two nations has heated up in recent days.
“It was insane. Ridiculous. It should have never been made,” Trump said of the deal, adding that if Iran restarts its nuclear program, they’re “going to have big problems, bigger than they’ve ever had before.”
Iran responded with its own threats. “I am telling those in the White House that if they do not live up to their commitments… the Iranian government will firmly react,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said. “If anyone betrays the deal, they should know that they would face severe consequences.”
“Iran is prepared for all possible situations,” he added.
An open question is how the other five countries in the deal would react if the U.S. were to pull out of the deal. All have indicated a desire to keep the framework of the deal in place. It is unclear how effective sanctions imposed by the U.S. alone against Iran would be.
Photo by US Embassy France via Wikimedia Commons