Ahead of the May 12th deadline and against the many requests from European allies, President Trump announced Tuesday afternoon the United States will withdraw from the Obama-era “Iran Deal.”
The president announced his decision in a speech at the White House in the Diplomatic Room as Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Vice President Mike Pence looked on, Breitbart reported.
In his remarks, Mr. Trump revisited the many atrocities against the West and the United States by the theocratic regime.
“Over the years, Iran and its proxies have bombed American embassies and military installations, murdered hundreds of American service members, and kidnapped, imprisoned, and tortured American citizens,” he said.
After a summarizing the short history of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – commonly known as the “Iran Deal” he President Trump noted:
Since the Agreement, Iran’s bloody ambitions have grown only more brazen.
In light of these glaring flaws, I announced last October that the Iran Deal must wither be renegotiated or terminated. Three months later on January 12th, I repeated these conditions. I made clear that if the Deal cannot be fixed, the United States would no longer be a party to the Agreement.
Over the past few months we have engaged extensively with our allies and partners around the world, including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. We have also consulted with our friends from across the Middle East. We are unified in our understanding of the threat, and of our conviction that Iran must never acquire a nuclear weapon.
After these consultations, it is clear to me we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb, under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement. The Iran deal is defective at its core.
If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen.
In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.
Therefore, I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal.
In a few moments, I will sign a Presidential Memorandum to begin re-instating U.S. nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime. We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction. Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States.
America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail. We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction. And we will not allow that chants “death to America” to gain access to the most deadly weapons on Earth.
Mr. Trump pivoted away from Iran to briefly touch on the upcoming talks with North Korea, emphasizing that when he makes a promise, he keeps it.
The Commander-in-Chief then warned the Iranian rulers, “If the regime continues its nuclear aspirations it will have bigger problems than it has ever had before.”
The National Review reports the announcement marks the beginning of an three to six month day delay period, after which the U.S. will reimpose the harsh economic sanctions that were lifted in 2015 in exchange for the regime’s commitment to cease developing its nuclear program for ten years.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) issued a strong statement of support immediately following the President’s announcement:
Iran is a terrorist state whose desire to destroy Israel and undermine the security of the U.S. is well known. Quite simply, Iran cannot be trusted. I applaud President Trump for withdrawing from the nuclear deal and putting the safety of Tennesseans and Americans first. pic.twitter.com/vwd0xQIr1h
— Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) May 8, 2018
Blackburn’s likely rival in the November general election to succeed Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), in the U.S. Senate, former Gov. Phil Bredesen, has offered no public statement yet on President Trump’s decision.
Gubernatorial hopeful Rep Diane Black (R-TN-06) tweeted from her campaign’s account:
“America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail."@realDonaldTrump is keeping yet another promise and removing the United States from the disastrous Iran deal. He promised to put the safety and security of Americans first and he followed through. #IranNuclearDeal https://t.co/Btvouax5Ok
— Diane Black (@DianeBlackTN) May 8, 2018
“President Trump is correcting the mistake made by former President Obama and his administration. The JCPOA was a bad deal that brought less peace and less stability to an already volatile part of the world. President Trump promised to put America first and this is just another example of him following through on his promises to the American people,” Judge Bob Corlew, a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 6th Congressional District, the seat Black is leaving to run for governor, said in a statement.
Rep Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04) added:
“The Iranian nuclear deal was a bad deal for the United States, which is why the Obama Administration bypassed the American people’s representatives in Congress to pursue it, never a formal treaty under our Constitution. In addition to clear constitutional problems the deal created, it released billions of dollars the Islamic regime is spending to fund its military, terrorism, and human catastrophes in Syria and also Iran, where democratic protestors experience daily political persecution and violence. Far from making the world a safer place, the agreement increased Iranian aggression in the region, sparked a nuclear arms race there, and sent a message of appeasement to threats such as North Korea.
“Not only has Iran already violated the terms of Barack Obama’s weak agreement, the regime has flagrantly violated U.N. resolutions restricting its ballistic missile tests and taken more American hostages, while others remained imprisoned. President Trump rightfully withdrew from the JCPOA, and we will work together to hold Iran to account for its nuclear program, terrorism and attacks on our allies.”
The Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel issued a short statement on behalf of the Party supporting the President’s decision.
“The Iran agreement was built on the lies of a leading state sponsor of terrorism, preserving its nuclear capability and allowing the regime to build a nuclear weapon in several years,” she said. “President Trump’s decision fulfills a promise he made to the American people and corrects an Obama-era mistake that should never have been made.”
“President Trump has made it clear that he will only enter into enforceable agreements that strengthen the security of the United States of America,” McDaniel concluded.
The White House released a fact sheet spelling out the rationale of the President’s decision about the agreement, which he has long derided.
It begins with a quote from President Trump that supports detractors alike are very familiar with: “The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”
The fact sheet continues:
PROTECTING AMERICA FROM A BAD DEAL: President Donald J. Trump is terminating the United States’ participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and re-imposing sanctions lifted under the deal.
- President Trump is terminating United States participation in the JCPOA, as it failed to protect America’s national security interests.
- The JCPOA enriched the Iranian regime and enabled its malign behavior, while at best delaying its ability to pursue nuclear weapons and allowing it to preserve nuclear research and development.
- The President has directed his Administration to immediately begin the process of re-imposing sanctions related to the JCPOA.
- The re-imposed sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy, such as its energy, petrochemical, and financial sectors.
- Those doing business in Iran will be provided a period of time to allow them to wind down operations in or business involving Iran.
- Those who fail to wind down such activities with Iran by the end of the period will risk severe consequences.
- United States withdrawal from the JCPOA will pressure the Iranian regime to alter its course of malign activities and ensure that Iranian bad acts are no longer rewarded. As a result, both Iran and its regional proxies will be put on notice. As importantly, this step will help ensure global funds stop flowing towards illicit terrorist and nuclear activities.
IRAN’S BAD FAITH AND BAD ACTIONS: Iran negotiated the JCPOA in bad faith, and the deal gave the Iranian regime too much in exchange for too little.
- Intelligence recently released by Israel provides compelling details about Iran’s past secret efforts to develop nuclear weapons, which it lied about for years.
- The intelligence further demonstrates that the Iranian regime did not come clean about its nuclear weapons activity, and that it entered the JCPOA in bad faith.
- The JCPOA failed to deal with the threat of Iran’s missile program and did not include a strong enough mechanism for inspections and verification.
- The JCPOA foolishly gave the Iranian regime a windfall of cash and access to the international financial system for trade and investment.
- Instead of using the money from the JCPOA to support the Iranian people at home, the regime has instead funded a military buildup and continues to fund its terrorist proxies, such as Hizballah and Hamas.
- Iran violated the laws and regulations of European countries to counterfeit the currency of its neighbor, Yemen, to support the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force’s destabilizing activities.
ADDRESSING IRANIAN AGGRESSION: President Trump is committed to ensuring Iran has no possible path to a nuclear weapon and is addressing the threats posed by the regime’s malign activities.
- President Trump will work to assemble a broad coalition of nations to deny Iran all paths to a nuclear weapon and to counter the totality of the regime’s malign activities.
- Nations must work together to halt the Iranian regime’s destabilizing drive for regional hegemony.
- In Syria, the Iranian regime supports the Assad regime and is complicit in Assad’s atrocities against the Syrian people.
- In Yemen, the regime has escalated the conflict and used the Houthis as a proxy to attack other nations.
- In Iraq, Iran’s IRGC sponsors Shia militant groups and terrorists.
- In Lebanon, the Iranian regime enables Hizballah to play a highly destabilizing role and to build an arsenal of weapons that threatens the region.
- The Administration’s actions are directed against the malign behavior of the Iranian regime, not against the Iranian people, who are the regime’s longest-suffering victims.
- Nations must work together to halt the Iranian regime’s destabilizing drive for regional hegemony.
- President Trump is making clear that, in addition to never developing a nuclear weapon, the Iranian regime must:
- Never have an ICBM, cease developing any nuclear-capable missiles, and stop proliferating ballistic missiles to others.
- Cease its support for terrorists, extremists, and regional proxies, such as Hizballah, Hamas, the Taliban, and al-Qa’ida.
- End its publicly declared quest to destroy Israel.
- Stop its threats to freedom of navigation, especially in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea.
- Cease escalating the Yemen conflict and destabilizing the region by proliferating weapons to the Houthis.
- End its cyber-attacks against the United States and our allies, including Israel.
- Stop its grievous human rights abuses, shown most recently in the regime’s crackdown against widespread protests by Iranian citizens.
- Stop its unjust detention of foreigners, including United States citizens.
Watch President Trump’s remarks from the White House:
FULL TRANSCRIPT via the White House:
THE PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans: Today, I want to update the world on our efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
The Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terror. It exports dangerous missiles, fuels conflicts across the Middle East, and supports terrorist proxies and militias such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, and al Qaeda.
Over the years, Iran and its proxies have bombed American embassies and military installations, murdered hundreds of American servicemembers, and kidnapped, imprisoned, and tortured American citizens. The Iranian regime has funded its long reign of chaos and terror by plundering the wealth of its own people.
No action taken by the regime has been more dangerous than its pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them.
In 2015, the previous administration joined with other nations in a deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program. This agreement was known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.
In theory, the so-called “Iran deal” was supposed to protect the United States and our allies from the lunacy of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a weapon that will only endanger the survival of the Iranian regime. In fact, the deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium and, over time, reach the brink of a nuclear breakout.
The deal lifted crippling economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for very weak limits on the regime’s nuclear activity, and no limits at all on its other malign behavior, including its sinister activities in Syria, Yemen, and other places all around the world.
In other words, at the point when the United States had maximum leverage, this disastrous deal gave this regime — and it’s a regime of great terror — many billions of dollars, some of it in actual cash — a great embarrassment to me as a citizen and to all citizens of the United States.
A constructive deal could easily have been struck at the time, but it wasn’t. At the heart of the Iran deal was a giant fiction that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear energy program.
Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie. Last week, Israel published intelligence documents long concealed by Iran, conclusively showing the Iranian regime and its history of pursuing nuclear weapons.
The fact is this was a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made. It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.
In the years since the deal was reached, Iran’s military budget has grown by almost 40 percent, while its economy is doing very badly. After the sanctions were lifted, the dictatorship used its new funds to build nuclear-capable missiles, support terrorism, and cause havoc throughout the Middle East and beyond.
The agreement was so poorly negotiated that even if Iran fully complies, the regime can still be on the verge of a nuclear breakout in just a short period of time. The deal’s sunset provisions are totally unacceptable. If I allowed this deal to stand, there would soon be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Everyone would want their weapons ready by the time Iran had theirs.
Making matters worse, the deal’s inspection provisions lack adequate mechanisms to prevent, detect, and punish cheating, and don’t even have the unqualified right to inspect many important locations, including military facilities.
Not only does the deal fail to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but it also fails to address the regime’s development of ballistic missiles that could deliver nuclear warheads.
Finally, the deal does nothing to constrain Iran’s destabilizing activities, including its support for terrorism. Since the agreement, Iran’s bloody ambitions have grown only more brazen.
In light of these glaring flaws, I announced last October that the Iran deal must either be renegotiated or terminated.
Three months later, on January 12th, I repeated these conditions. I made clear that if the deal could not be fixed, the United States would no longer be a party to the agreement.
Over the past few months, we have engaged extensively with our allies and partners around the world, including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. We have also consulted with our friends from across the Middle East. We are unified in our understanding of the threat and in our conviction that Iran must never acquire a nuclear weapon.
After these consultations, it is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement.
The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.
Therefore, I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
In a few moments, I will sign a presidential memorandum to begin reinstating U.S. nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime. We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction. Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States.
America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail. 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.
Today’s action sends a critical message: The United States no longer makes empty threats. When I make promises, I keep them. In fact, at this very moment, Secretary Pompeo is on his way to North Korea in preparation for my upcoming meeting with Kim Jong-un. Plans are being made. Relationships are building. Hopefully, a deal will happen and, with the help of China, South Korea, and Japan, a future of great prosperity and security can be achieved for everyone.
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. This will include efforts to eliminate the threat of Iran’s ballistic missile program; to stop its terrorist activities worldwide; and to block its menacing activity across the Middle East. In the meantime, powerful sanctions will go into full effect. If the regime continues its nuclear aspirations, it will have bigger problems than it has ever had before.
Finally, I want to deliver a message to the long-suffering people of Iran: The people of America stand with you. It has now been almost 40 years since this dictatorship seized power and took a proud nation hostage. Most of Iran’s 80 million citizens have sadly never known an Iran that prospered in peace with its neighbors and commanded the admiration of the world.
But the future of Iran belongs to its people. They are the rightful heirs to a rich culture and an ancient land. And they deserve a nation that does justice to their dreams, honor to their history, and glory to God.
Iran’s leaders will naturally say that they refuse to negotiate a new deal; they refuse. And that’s fine. I’d probably say the same thing if I was in their position. But the fact is they are going to want to make a new and lasting deal, one that benefits all of Iran and the Iranian people. When they do, I am ready, willing, and able.
Great things can happen for Iran, and great things can happen for the peace and stability that we all want in the Middle East.
There has been enough suffering, death, and destruction. Let it end now.
Thank you. God bless you. Thank you.
(The presidential memorandum is signed.)
Q Mr. President, how does this make America safer? How does this make America safer?
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. This will make America much safer. Thank you very much.
Q Is Secretary Pompeo bringing the detainees home?
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Secretary Pompeo is, right now, going to North Korea. He will be there very shortly in a matter of virtual — probably an hour. He’s got meetings set up. We have our meeting scheduled. We have our meeting set. The location is picked — the time and the date. Everything is picked. And we look forward to having a very great success.
We think relationships are building with North Korea. We’ll see how it all works out. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. But it can be a great thing for North Korea, South Korea, Japan and the entire world. We hope it all works out.
Thank you very much.
Q Are the Americans being freed?
Q Are the Americans coming home, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: We’ll all soon be finding out. We will soon be finding out. It would be a great thing if they are. We’ll soon be finding out. Thank you very much.