President Trump announced Friday that he would decertify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal and warned that if restrictions on Iran’s future nuclear activity are not made permanent, he will move to kill the deal. “In the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated,” Trump said.
Trump opened his remarks saying, “History has shown the longer we ignore a threat, the more dangerous that threat becomes.” He added, “Iran is under the control of a fanatical regime that seized power in 1979 and forced a proud people to submit to its extremist rule.” Trump then walked through the history of Iranian aggression against the United States from the seizure of our embassy in 1979 to its attacks on U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Trump then turned to the JCPOA aka the Iran deal. He described it, as he has done before, as one of the most one-sided deals the U.S. has ever made. Trump highlighted the controversial settlement reached at the same time in which millions in foreign currency were airlifted to Iran. The Obama administration struggled to explain how that transfer, which was made contingent on the release of U.S. prisoners, did not amount to a ransom payment. “Just imagine the sight of those huge piles of money being hauled off by the Iranians waiting at the airport for the cash,” Trump said, adding, “I wonder where all that money went.”
“Worst of all, the deal allows Iran to continue developing certain elements of its nuclear program and, importantly, in just a few years as key restrictions disappear, Iran can sprint towards a rapid nuclear weapons breakout,” Trump said. He continued, “In other words, we got weak inspections in exchange for no more than a purely short-term and temporary delay in Iran’s path to nuclear weapons.”
Trump then claimed Iran had committed multiple violations of the agreement. “On two separate occasions, they have exceeded the limit of 130 metric tons of heavy water,” Trump said. The president went on to say that Iran was not living up to “the spirit of the deal.”
Trump then rolled out his new strategy for dealing with Iran. “We will place additional sanctions on the regime to block their financing of terror,” Trump said. Those sanctions would be placed on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Trump described the IRGC as the Supreme Leader’s “corrupt, personal terror force.” He also promised his administration would “block all paths” Iran could take toward a nuclear weapon.
“Among other conditions, this law requires the president or his designee to certify that the suspension of sanctions under the deal is appropriate and proportionate to measure and other measures taken by Iran to terminate its illicit nuclear program. Based on the factual record I have put forward, I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification. We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.”
Trump said he wanted Congress to address the Iran deal’s “sunset clauses” and “near total silence on Iran’s missile program.” At this point, Trump issued his warning that if Congress could not find a solution, the entire deal would be terminated. “As we have seen in North Korea, the longer we ignore a threat, the worse that threat becomes,” Trump said. He added, “It is why we are determined the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism will never obtain nuclear weapons.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already released a statement praising Trump’s decision:
The European Union, on the other hand, says the deal will continue to be in place regardless of what the U.S. does:
EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini gives presser on Trump's decision on Iran nuclear deal https://t.co/SNii9KN8Ai
— Press TV (@PressTV) October 13, 2017
Ben “echo chamber” Rhodes is, not surprisingly, unhappy with the announcement today:
Trump is demanding that allies and Congress go along with him in violating the Iran Deal at a time when Iran is complying. Provoking crisis
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) October 13, 2017
Hard to overstate how irresponsible it is for Trump to risk blowing up Iran Deal by demanding rest of world justify his campaign rhetoric
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) October 13, 2017
Here’s video of Trump full statement.