Islamabad Politics Monitor: US President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that he is pulling out of an international nuclear deal with Iran, in a move that would raise the risk of conflict in the Middle East, upset America’s European allies and disrupt global oil supplies.
“The Iran deal is defective at its core,” Trump said in a televised address from the White House.
“I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.”
After consulting US “friends” from across the Middle East, Trump said, “it is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement.”
“America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail,” Trump vowed.
“We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction and we will not allow a regime that chants ‘Death to America’ to gain access to the most deadly weapons on Earth.”
Following his address, the US leader signed a presidential memorandum to start reinstating US nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime.
He also called Tehran the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, and decried its influence in the Middle East.
The 2015 deal, worked out by the United States, five other international powers and Iran, eased sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran limiting its nuclear program.
Trump says the agreement, the signature foreign policy achievement of Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, does not address Iran’s ballistic missile program, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 nor its role in conflicts in Yemen and Syria.
Iran has ruled out renegotiating the agreement and threatened to retaliate, although it has not said exactly how, if Washington pulled out.
Renewing sanctions would make it much harder for Iran to sell its oil abroad or use the international banking system.
The Iran deal may remain partially intact, even without the United States. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani suggested on Monday that Iran could remain in the accord with the other signatories that stay committed to it.
Trump’s move is a snub to European allies such as France, Britain and Germany who are also part of the Iran deal and tried hard to convince the U.S. president to preserve it. The Europeans must now scramble to decide their own course of action with Tehran.
China and Russia are also signatories to the Iran deal.
Oil prices dived as much as 4 percent on Tuesday as media reports rattled markets with doubts about whether Trump would withdraw Washington.
Trump did not provide details of what he described as the “highest level of economic sanctions” that he is reimposing on Iran.
But he implied that he was going beyond not renewing waivers on sanctions related to Iran’s oil exports and its central bank that were due to expire on Saturday and reimpose all of the other U.S. sanctions that were suspended under the nuclear deal.
Iran’s growing military and political power in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq worries the United States, Israel and US allies.
Israel has traded blows with Iranian forces in Syria since February, stirring concern that major escalation could be looming.
EU is “determined to preserve” the Iran nuclear deal
The European Union is determined to preserve it, Federica Mogherinithe bloc’s diplomatic chief said adding pledging to “stay true” if Tehran stuck to its commitments.
Mogherini made a direct appeal to the Iranian people and their leaders to stick with the accord after US President Donald Trump said Washington was ditching what he called a “defective” agreement.
“Stay true to your commitments as we will stay true to ours and together with the rest of the international community we will preserve this nuclear deal,” Mogherini said at a hastily-arranged press conference in Rome.
“Psychological Warfare” against Iran: Rouhani
US President Donald Trump’s decision on Tuesday to pull out of the nuclear deal is an act of “psychological warfare” against Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said.
Speaking on state television, Rouhani said he wished to discuss Trump’s decision with the European, Russian and Chinese parties to the 2015 deal.
The Iranian president appeared on the state broadcaster just minutes after Trump announced the historic decision to withdraw the United States from the agreement.
Rouhani has stated in recent days that he hopes to salvage the deal as much as possible with the help of the other parties — Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the European Union — who have strongly opposed Washington’s decision to pull out.