On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. will be pulling out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal.
“At the point when the United States had maximum leverage” this deal gave the Iran regime “many millions of dollars in actual cash,” Trump said, calling the deal an “embarrassment” to himself and all U.S. citizens.
He added, “The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen.”
Trump said the deal was so badly written that, if allowed to stand, "there would soon be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.”
During his speech, Trump called the Iranian regime “the leading state sponsor of terror” that “funded its long reign of chaos and terror by plundering its own people.”
He also said that the Iran deal was built on “fiction,” citing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's April 30 presentation on Iran. In that presentation, Netanyahu said that Israeli intelligence had obtained evidence that proved that Iran's government was still working toward building a nuclear bomb.
Trump said that “if the regime continues its nuclear aspirations," it will face "bigger problems than it ever has before.” He insisted that he would carry through on that threat if necessary: “The United States no longer makes empty threats. When I make promises, I keep them.”
Trump's announcement came four days ahead of his self-imposed May 12 deadline for deciding on the future of the deal.
Earlier Tuesday, the New York Times had reported that Trump called French President Emmanuel Macron to tell him that he was pulling out of the deal. However, both the White House and Macron’s office have since denied that this happened.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 8, 2018
The United Kingdom, France, and Germany have all been pushing the U.S. to stay in the Iran deal.
In March, all three nations sent a joint proposal to the other members of the European Union to slap additional sanctions on Iran. The leaders of those three nations hoped that by doing so they could convince Trump that there were ways of keeping Iran in line without abandoning the deal.
However, the other E.U. member states failed to agree on the sanctions, and the measure failed. In order for the proposal to have passed, all 28 members would have had to have agreed to it.
Remind me again — what was the Iran nuclear deal?
In 2015, the Obama administration signed a deal with the government of Iran. Under the rules of the deal, Iran would reduce its stockpile of uranium and stop working on building a nuclear bomb, and in return the U.S. would lift decades-old sanctions on Iran.
Trump has repeatedly criticized the deal. On April 24, during a news conference with Macron, Trump said that the deal was “insane. Ridiculous. It should have never been made.”