Donald Trump announces US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal

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Trump: Iran nuclear agreement a 'one-sided deal'

President Trump has pulled the US out of the international accord and will impose the "highest level of economic sanctions" on Iran. All eyes are now on European leaders to see if they can hold the deal together.

US President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that the United States will reimpose sanctions on Iran and abandon the 2015 international accord to curb Iran's nuclear program.

Trump's decision will not only ramp up tensions with Iran, but could also further unsettle Washington's ties with its European allies — particularly France, Germany and the UK — who sought to convince the US leader to remain in the deal.

Earlier, US media reported on the president's decision to pull out of the deal.

Read moreIran nuclear deal: Germany's special role and plans

Politics | 07.05.2018

What Trump said:

  • Announcing his decision at the White House, Trump lambasted the deal, calling it "defective at its core."
  • "We cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotting structure of the current agreement," he said.
  • "The United States will no longer make empty threats," he added towards to the end of his address.
  • Trump said the US "will be instituting the highest level of economic sanctions" against Iran as well as new economic penalties. 
  • He did not specify how long of a grace period the administration will grant for businesses and governments to untangle their operations in Iran to avoid US penalties.
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DW News | 08.05.2018

Mogherini: 'The EU will remain committed to the implementa...

Iran to remain in nuclear deal

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that despite Trump's decision, Tehran would remain in the international accord. Iranian officials are due to discuss the US announcement with Europe, Russia and China.

"If we achieve the deal's goals in cooperation with other members of the deal, it will remain in place ... By exiting the deal, America has officially undermined its commitment to an international treaty," Rouhani said in a televised speech.

He also described the US move as "psychological warfare."

Read moreIran nuclear deal: Has Europe done enough to save it?

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DW News | 08.05.2018

US pulls out of Iran nuclear deal: DW's Clare Richardson, ...

How world leaders reacted

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted shortly after Trump's announcement that "France, Germany and the UK regret the US decision" to leave the deal. He said that the remaining parties will work on addressing Iran's "ballistic activity" as well as ensuring stability in the Middle East in "Syria, Yemen and Iraq."

Germany, the UK and France reaffirmed their commitment to the deal and urged for the US not to obstruct other countries as they attempt to implement the deal, according to a joint statement provided by British Prime Minister Theresa May's office. May, Macron and German Chancellor Anglea Merkel spoke by telephone shortly before Trump's speech.

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The European Union's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, called on the international community to stick with the deal, saying that the EU is "determined to preserve it." She noted that she was "particularly worried" by Trump's announcement of new sanctions against Iran.

Read more: Donald Trump withdraws US from Iran nuclear deal: How the world reacted

In a rare move, former US President Barack Obama — whose administration brokered the deal — criticized his successor's decision to leave the deal. He said Trump's move was a "serious mistake" and emphasized that independent experts, US officials and EU allies agree the deal is working.

Richard Grenell, the new US Ambassador to Germany, sent out a warning to German businesses on Twitter, saying that "German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who advocated for scrapping the accord with Iran, praised Trump's decision. Netanyahu said the deal was a "recipe for disaster, a disaster for our region, a disaster for the peace of the world."

Saudi Arabia, a longtime US ally and rival of Iran's, said: "The kingdom supports and welcomes the steps announced by the US president towards withdrawing from the nuclear deal... and reinstating economic sanctions against Iran."

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DW News | 08.05.2018

Deal needed 'to prevent Iran getting bomb'

What is the Iran nuclear deal? In July 2015, international powers and Iran agreed to a deal that called for lifting crippling international sanctions in exchange for Iran dismantling its nuclear program. Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the deal with Iran was signed by the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, France and the European Union.

Read moreA closer look at the Iran nuclear deal 

Why does Trump object to the deal? The US leader has criticized the deal for not addressing Iran's ballistic missile program, or Tehran's support of Syrian President Bashar Assad. He's also been critical of the deal's expiration dates, including a provision that lifts restrictions on Iran's uranium stockpile and enrichment after 15 years.

Where does Europe stand? German, French and British leaders as well as EU leaders in Brussels all back the dealall back the deal and tried to persuade the US president to remain. They've warned that an exit from the deal would undo years of work that has kept nuclear weapons out of Iran.

What happens next: European nations will now need to work with Iran in order to hold the agreement together. A US exit will likely hit Iran's economy hard, with the country's currency already at record lows in recent weeks ahead of Trump's announcement.

Donald Trump: deal-breaker abroad and at home

Iran nuclear deal

The "worst deal ever": That's how Donald Trump described the 2015 landmark agreement that lifted international sanctions against Iran in exchange for the country dismantling its atomic program. In May 2018 the president followed through on a campaign promise and said he would withdraw the US from the deal, which had arisen out of painstaking multi-year negotiations.

Donald Trump: deal-breaker abroad and at home

Trans-Pacific Partnership

In February 2016 then-US President Barack Obama signed the free trade agreement known as the TPP along with 11 other Pacific nations. However, it never went into effect: Shortly after taking office, Trump signed an executive order that took the US out of the deal, thus keeping it from entering into force. The scuttled TPP evolved into a new regional trade partnership — without the US.

Donald Trump: deal-breaker abroad and at home

Paris Agreement

The Paris climate accord was adopted in December 2015 after the COP 21 meeting. All 195 participating member states and the EU agreed to reduce emissions, decrease carbon output and try to rein in global warming. The US signed the accord but support was short-lived: in November 2017 Trump told the UN that the US would withdrawal from the accord at the earliest possible date, November 2019.

Donald Trump: deal-breaker abroad and at home

Domestic environmental regulations

Trump not only has undone US participation in international climate deals but also has scrapped domestic environmental regulations. Scott Pruit, Trump's head of the Environmental Protection Agency, announced in March 2018 that Obama-era vehicle emissions standards would be rolled back. And at the very start of his term, Trump also said he would review the Clean Water Act and Clean Power Plan.

Donald Trump: deal-breaker abroad and at home

Affordable Care Act

The ACA, nicknamed "Obamacare," was landmark legislation that roughly halved the number of medically uninsured Americans through program expansion and insurance mandates. Its critics, Trump among them, described it as federal government overreach that would cause skyrocketing health costs for individuals. While total repeal has failed, Republicans did do away with the mandate in 2017 tax reform.

rs/kms (AP, AFP, Reuters)