US President Donald Trump struck a blow against the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement yesterday in defiance of other world powers, choosing not to certify that Tehran is complying with the deal and warning he might ultimately terminate it.
Trump announced the major shift in US policy in a speech in which he detailed a more aggressive approach to Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and its support for extremist groups in the Middle East.
He accused Iran of “not living up to the spirit” of the nuclear agreement and said his goal is to ensure Tehran never obtains a nuclear weapon, in effect throwing the fate of the deal to Congress.
He singled out Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for sanctions and delivered a blistering critique of Tehran, which he accused of destabilising actions in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.
“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.
Trump’s hardline remarks were criticised by European allies.
The move by Trump was part of his “America First” approach to international agreements. Iran, US allies in Europe and Russia defended the nuclear agreement with Tehran and said they would stick by it.
The leaders of Britain, France and Germany issued a joint statement warning the United States against taking decisions that could harm the nuclear deal such as re-imposing sanctions.
Russia’s foreign ministry said there was no place in international diplomacy for threatening and aggressive rhetoric, and said such methods were doomed to fail, in a statement issued after Trump’s speech.European allies have warned of a split with the United States over the nuclear agreement and say that putting it in limbo as Trump has done undermines US credibility abroad, especially as international inspectors say Iran is in compliance with the accord.
The EU’s top diplomat Federica Mogherini said that the Iran nuclear deal was “working and delivering”, insisting Trump did not have the power to terminate it. The chief of the UN atomic watchdog reiterated that Iran was under the world’s “most robust nuclear verification regime.”
Rouhani says Iran will abide by nuclear agreement
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country would “abide by the nuclear agreement as long as it guarantees its interests and will continue to co-operate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) within the framework of its national interests.”
“It seems that President Trump did not realise that he could not cancel the international agreements,” Rouhani said in a televised address last night in response to Trump’s announcement that he would not “recognise Iran’s commitment to the nuclear deal.”
The Iranian president said that what Trump said “proved that the nuclear agreement has become more firmly established, and that US is more alone in its position than at any other time.”
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