European leaders are scrambling to convince Iran not to revert to nuclear bomb building in the wake of Trump's decision to cut ties with the 2015 accord.
Donald Trump has long bashed the “insane” Iran accord, and despite objection from European allies, on Tuesday he officially yanked the United States from it, restoring sanctions on Iran.
At 2pm (local time), Trump held a press conference at the White House to explain his foreign policy action.
“It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace and it never will,” he said.
“It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement.
“The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons,” he said.
The world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.
“Therefore, I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
“We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanctions.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron issued a joint statement, saying they shared “regret and concern” for Trump’s decision.
May had even sent foreign secretary Boris Johnson to the US this week in the hope of turning Trump around on the issue, but he was unable to speak with the President.
European signatories vow to save deal
Britain, France and Germany refuse to allow Trump to blow up the 2015 pact, declaring they are committed until its expiry date of 2025.
“Our governments remain committed to ensuring the agreement is upheld, and will work with all the remaining parties to the deal to ensure this remains the case including through ensuring the continuing economic benefits to the Iranian people that are linked to the agreement,” the statement read.
“Iran should continue to receive the sanctions relief it is entitled to whilst it remains in compliance with the terms of the deal.”
The leaders have always agreed with Trump that the deal is far from perfect, and they intend on ironing out the flaws by addressing Iran’s ballistic missile programme and “its destabilising regional activities, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen”.
Or as Macron tweeted, the allies will “work collectively on a broader framework”.
We will work collectively on a broader framework, covering nuclear activity, the post-2025 period, ballistic activity, and stability in the Middle-East, notably Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) May 8, 2018
They have the backing of the European Commission, with vice president Federica Mogherini saying, “The nuclear deal with Iran is crucial for the security of the region, of Europe and of the entire world”.
The EU regrets today's statement by President of United States on #IranDeal. It is not a bilateral agreement & not in the hands of any single country to terminate it unilaterally. EU determined to preserve it.@FedericaMog statement: https://t.co/VbdvRNQ8wk #JCPOA pic.twitter.com/x0RCxvjAg7
— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) May 8, 2018
It “is not a bilateral agreement and it is not in the hands of any single country to terminate it”, she added.
The US’ exit is expected to have wide-ranging consequences, most obviously would be the disruption to global oil supplies.
According to the Oil Ministry’s news portal Shana, Iran’s export of crude oil and gas condensate amounted to nearly 1 billion barrels in 2017, and 38% of its exports head to Europe, with Britain being one of the major buyers.
Iran to build nuclear bombs if pact unravels
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has responded forcefully to Trump’s announcement, revealing Tehran would work harder and faster on its nuclear program than ever before if talks break down with the remaining world powers.
“I have ordered Iran’s atomic organisation that whenever it is needed, we will start enriching uranium more than before,” Rouhani said.
He said Iran would start this “in the next weeks”.
Mogherini has urged Rouhani to “stay true to your commitments, as we will stay true to ours. And together, with the rest of the international community, we will preserve the nuclear deal”.
“The EU is fully committed to ensuring that this continues to be delivered on. I am particularly worried by the announcement of new sanctions. I will consult with all our partners in the coming hours and days to assess their implications,” she said.
“The EU is determined to act in accordance with its security interests and to protect its economic investments.”