President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement if Congress and US allies do not agree to strengthen it, throwing the future of the deal into doubt as he unveiled a tough and comprehensive new policy toward the Islamic Republic.
“As I have said many times, the Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” Trump said in a major speech at the White House laying out the sharp turn in US Iran policy.
Trump accused Iran of committing “multiple violations of the agreement,” despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency, America’s European allies and even his own government say that Tehran is complying with the 2015 deal reached by former President Barack Obama and major world powers.
He said that Iran had “failed to meet our expectations in its operations of advanced centrifuges,” and “intimidated” international inspectors into not using their full authority. He also accused the Obama administration of lifting sanctions on Iran under the terms of the deal at a moment when the Iranian clerical regime was about to collapse, an assessment that contradicts the views of many experts.
The President announced that he would no longer make regular certifications that the lifting of sanctions under the deal was in the US interests.
“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,” he said. “I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons.”
He said the flaws of the agreement included “sunset” provisions under which limits on Iran’s nuclear program will begin to expire. Proponents of the deal dispute that. The President warned that the deal was plagued by “insufficient enforcement” and near total silence on the missile program.