UPDATED with responses from Obama, Iran, UK, Germany and France: The decision pull out of the Iran nuclear pact “is a serious mistake,” and the “consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to” that’s been happening since Donald Trump took office, “risks eroding America’s credibility, and puts us at odds with the world’s major powers,” former President Barack Obama warned this afternoon.
Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, said his country would stay in the deal for the time being but was prepared to begin enriching uranium if it falls apart.
In response to which, the UK, France and Germany made clear in a joint statement their “regret” over Trump’s decision, adding, “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 three countries encouraged Iran to “show restraint in response to the decision by the US” and to “meet its own obligations under the deal, cooperating fully and in a timely manner with IAEA inspection requirements.”
Obama’s statement, which you can read in its entirety here, came not long after Trump made good on his promise to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, surprising no one.
“When I make promises I keep them,” Trump said at his White House presser announcing his intention to dump the deal and re-instate “severe” sanctions against Iran and any nation that helps Iran with its nuclear program.
“In theory the so-called Iran deal was supposed to protect the United States and our allies from the lunacy of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a weapon that will only endanger the survival of the Iranian regime,” Trump said. “In fact, the deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium and over time reach the brink of a nuclear breakout.”
He blasted the Obama administration for having made the deal, “at a point where the United States had maximum leverage” – a deal that included giving Iran “billions of dollars, some in actual cash, which is a great embarrassment to me a a citizen.”
Trump continued to insist Iran is not in compliance on the deal, despite evidence to the contrary from his own top officials. “Today we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie,” he said in his 10-minute address, calling the pact so poorly negotiated, “even if Iran fully complies the regime can still be on the verge of nuclear breakout in a short period of time.”
“This was a horrible one-sided deal that should never have been made. It did not bring calm, never brought peace and it never will,” Trump scoffed.
“America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail,” he crowed, boasting that his announcement sends the message “The United States no longer makes empty threats. When I make promises I keep them.”
He sent a message to the “long suffering people of Iran: The people of America stand with you.”
“Iran’s leaders will say ‘they refused to negotiate a new deal’ and that’s fine; I’d probably say the same thing if I was in their position,” Trump acknowledged.
When they are ready to come to the table “I am ready, willing and able. Great things can happen for Iran and great things can happen for the peace and stability that we all want in the Middle East. There has been enough suffering and death and destruction. Let it end now.”
For days, Trump had been braging that nobody knew what he would do with regard to U.S. participation in the pact. No one wanted to spoil his fun, but he’d run for office vowing to kill the “worst deal” in history – a big spoiler for today’s episode of The President Trump Reality Show.
Veep Michael Pence also took away about 20% of today’s suspense when he began telling members of Congress that Trump intended to exit the deal, before the 2 PM ET presser.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron also called it right last month, when he threw in the towel on his charm offensive trip to Washington in hopes of talking Trump out of the decision. Back then, Macron wound up his visit holding a presser to tell reporters he had failed and Trump would walk from the deal.