Trump Pulls Out of Iran Nuclear Deal, Reimposing Sanctions

| MAY 8, 2018 | 6:42 PM
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President Donald Trump announced that U.S. will withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and, in turn, begin to re-impose sanctions on Iran.

Trump signed a presidential memorandum greenlighting “the highest level” of economic sanctions on the Iranian regime and threatened any nation who would aid Iranian nuclear proliferation with similar penalties.   

“America will not be held hostage by nuclear blackmail,” Trump said in the White House Diplomatic Room. “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.”

He added that no regime “has been more dangerous than its pursuit of nuclear weapons and its means of delivering them” than the Iranian regime and blasted the existing pact as “giant fiction.”

Trump back on “glaring flaws” of the Iran deal, including destabilization, 

According to The New York Times, Trump plans not only on reinstating previous sanctions, but also reimpose new economic penalties. Sources familiar with the negotiation process added that the president reached a breaking point over his wish to tighten restrictions on Iran's nuclear fuel production after 2030.

Trump's decision further rolls back flagpole Obama-era policy.

Over the past few days, Trump's attacked Obama's Secretary of State John Kerry, who was a key stakeholder in penning the 2003 deal, and slammed the former diplomat as a poor dealmaker and a proponent of “illegal Shadow Diplomacy.” 

Trump, who's long slammed the JCPOA as a terrible deal, pulled out of agreement despite best efforts from allies. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was the last of several emissaries who visited the White House to make eleventh-hour pitches to the administration in hopes of saving the deal.

“We need to find a way of fixing that and the president has been right to call attention to it,” Johnson said on Fox news. “But you can’t do that without just throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron also visited 1600 Pennsylvania recently to make direct appeals to Trump.

Macron, who was reportedly notified of Trump's decision just a few hours before the announcement, told a gaggle of reporters last month that he anticipated the U.S. leader to cut ties with the JCPOA “for domestic reasons.” Just a day before Trump's announcement, Macron warned European press that fault lines between Iran deal signatories could cause mass chaos.

“We would open the Pandora’s box. There could be war,” Macron said. “I don’t think that Donald Trump wants war.”

It's unclear if Trump's decision will cause fissures between the U.S. and its allies; it's possible, too, that this move will ratchet up tensions with Iran deal stakeholders China and Russia. The nations issued a joint statement Sunday, rejecting White House criticism.

“The Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China [...] Confirm their unwavering support for the comprehensive and effective implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” the statement read in part. 

Yet Trump maintained that he consulted with European. and Middle Eastern allies before pulling the plug.

“As we exit the Iran deal, we will be working with our allies to find a real, comprehensive, and lasting solution to the Iranian nuclear threat,” Trump added.

Further detail on timing and the exact scope of the sanctions will likely be provided by the White House over the coming weeks. Though, some experts look toward July 11, when Trump must decide whether to waive broader sanctions on Tehran.

“There has been enough suffering, death, and destruction,” Trump concluded. “Let it end now.”