The news started to leak a few hours ago before the President’s statement, but there was little doubt of the outcome. We previously documented how unlikely it was that the Trump administration would continue with the existing deal.
Most outlets can’t resist the headline, “Trump Nukes Iran Deal.” It’s the low hanging fruit.
The Associated Press reports on the President’s decision to unilaterally withdraw the United States from the agreement:
President Donald Trump announced Tuesday the U.S. will pull out of the landmark nuclear accord with Iran, declaring he was making the world safer but dealing a profound blow to allies and deepening the president’s isolation on the world stage.
“The United States does not make empty threats,” he said in a televised address from the White House.
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 sanction.”
Perhaps given the recent developments in North Korea, Trump is feeling more confident in a strong foreign policy posture. Here are the President’s remarks in full from the White House just hours ago:
Iran dismissively responded to Trump’s decision, according to Politico:
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that his nation could “face some problems” in the months ahead but will withstand a U.S. exit engineered by Trump. “It is possible that we will face some problems for two or three months, but we will pass through this,” Rouhani said in Tehran, according to The Associated Press.
What Rouhani means by “we will pass through this” is unclear. Does he mean things will continue as they’ve been, perhaps just dealing with the nations that still remain in the deal?
It’s also unclear exactly how the United States will proceed with Iran beyond sanctions. What is not unclear, however, is that this administration is now filled with several Iran hardliners, as Politico also notes:
Top Trump advisers have repeatedly convinced him over the past year to take mainly symbolic and rhetorical action. But Trump recently ousted two key supporters of the agreement, former national security adviser H.R. McMaster and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and replaced them with John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, respectively. Both have been fierce critics of the agreement. In past debates, Defense Secretary James Mattis also has opposed upending the agreement.
Trump’s decision also comes on the heels of Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu presenting evidence that Iran has been cheating on the deal. Analysts tend to agree that Netanyahu’s aim was to specifically influence Trump’s decision toward withdrawing.
Only time will judge this decision depending on how Iran behaves over the next several months and years.