World

Trump says US pulling out of Iran nuclear deal

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States will withdraw from a 2015 international agreement designed to deny Tehran the ability to build nuclear weapons.
“I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal,” Trump said. 
During a press conference, Trump said the country had failed to hold Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
“I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal,” Trump says in his address. “The disastrous Iran deal has been an embarrassment for the United States.”
The US president claimed to have that Iran had lied about the deal. 
“Iran nuclear deal doesn´t constrain Iran´s destabilizing activities, including support for terrorism,” he said. “The deal has inadequate mechanisms to prevent cheating.”
He further said the deal was supposed to protect the US and its allies, but it allowed Iran to continue to enrich uranium.
“No action taken by Iran has been more dangerous than its pursuit of nuclear weapons.” 
Accusing Iran of supporting state terrorism, Trump said the country had caused havoc across the Middle East and beyond. 
“If I allow this deal, everyone will want nuclear arms,” said Trump. “It will be a nuclear arms race.”  
A senior US official had earlier said it was unclear if efforts by European allies to address Trump’s concerns would be enough to save the pact.
Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the deal, which eased economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran limiting its nuclear program, unless France, Germany and Britain — which also signed the agreement — fix what he has called its flaws.
The senior US official said the European allies had moved significantly in Trump’s direction on what he sees as the defects — the failure to address Iran’s ballistic missile programme, the terms under which international inspectors visit suspected Iranian sites, and “sunset” clauses under which some terms expire.
The official did not know, however, if the Europeans had done enough to convince Trump to remain in the deal.
“The big question in my mind is does he think the Europeans have moved far enough so that we can all be unified and announce a deal? That’s one option,” said the official. “Or (does he conclude) the Europeans have not moved far enough and we say they’ve got to move more?”
European diplomats said privately they expected Trump to effectively withdraw from the agreement, which was struck by six major powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — and Iran in July 2015.
European leaders have warned that Trump’s withdrawal would strike a blow to the alliance between Western Europe and the United States, and undo years of negotiations that they say were successful in halting Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Iran has ruled out renegotiating the accord and threatened to retaliate, although it has not said exactly how, if Washington pulls out.
Trump gave no indication of which way he was leaning on Monday, saying only in a Twitter post that he would announce his decision at 2pm (1800 GMT and 2300 PST) today.
Iran backlash? 
Under the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the United States committed to easing a series of US sanctions on Iran and it has done so under a string of “waivers” that effectively suspend them.
Under US law, Trump has until Saturday to decide whether to reintroduce US sanctions related to Iran’s central bank and Iranian oil exports.
The reimposition of sanctions would dissuade foreign companies from doing business with Iran because they could be subject to US penalties.
Bringing back US sanctions could also trigger a backlash by Iran, which could resume its nuclear arms programme or punish US allies in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon, diplomats said.
On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani suggested Iran could remain in the accord even if the United States dropped out but that Tehran would fiercely resist US pressure to limit its influence in the Middle East.
Rouhani said the Islamic Republic had been preparing for every possible scenario, including a deal without Washington — which would still include the other signatories that remain committed to it — or no deal at all.
“We are prepared for all scenarios and no change will occur in our lives next week,” Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state TV.
“If we can get what we want from a deal without America, then Iran will continue to remain committed to the deal. What Iran wants is our interests to be guaranteed by its non-American signatories. … In that case, getting rid of America’s mischievous presence will be fine for Iran.”
Trump’s Iran tweet helped oil prices break $70 a barrel to reach their highest level since late 2014.
Allies committed to deal 
Britain, France and Germany remain committed to the accord and, in an effort to address US complaints, want to open talks on Iran’s ballistic missile programme, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 — when pivotal provisions of the deal expire — and its role in the wars in Syria and Yemen.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, in Washington this week, said the deal’s weaknesses could be remedied.
“At this moment Britain is working alongside the Trump administration and our French and German allies to ensure that they are,” he said in a commentary in the New York Times.
Johnson met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence on Monday.
Diplomats say Iran would rather the deal remain intact out of concern about a revival of domestic unrest over economic hardships that mounted over the years sanctions were in place.
Sanctions imposed on Iran in early 2012 by the United States and European Union over its nuclear programme cut Iran’s crude exports from a peak of 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) before the sanctions to a little more than 1 million bpd.
But Iran re-emerged as a major oil exporter in January 2016 when international sanctions were suspended in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme.
Iran’s clerical rulers have repeatedly ruled out reducing its sway across the region, as the United States and its European allies may seek as part of any new deal.
Underlining Tehran’s growing regional clout, pro-Iranian group Hezbollah and its political allies won just over half the seats in Lebanon’s parliamentary election, unofficial results showed on Monday.