Washington, May 9 (IANS) US President Donald Trump declared on Tuesday that he was pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, unravelling the signature foreign policy achievement of his predecessor, Barack Obama, and isolating the US among its Western allies.
“This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” Trump said at the White House in announcing his decision. “It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”
He said he would reimpose economic sanctions that were waived when the deal was signed in 2015.
Trump’s announcement, while long anticipated and widely telegraphed, plunges America’s relations with European allies into deep uncertainty. They have committed to staying in the deal, raising the prospect of a diplomatic and economic clash as the United States reimposes stringent sanctions on Iran.
In a statement, France, Germany and the UK – who are also signatories to the deal – have said they “regret” the American decision.
It also raises the prospect of increasing tensions with Russia and China, which also are parties to the agreement.
But Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he “fully supports” the “bold” withdrawal.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) saw Iran agree to limit the size of its stockpile of enriched uranium – which is used to make reactor fuel, but also nuclear weapons – for 15 years and the number of centrifuges installed to enrich uranium for 10 years.
Iran also agreed to modify a heavy water facility so it could not produce plutonium suitable for a bomb.
In return, sanctions imposed by the UN, US and EU that had crippled Iran’s economy were lifted.
The deal was agreed between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, UK, France, China and Russia – plus Germany.
Iran insists its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful, and its compliance with the deal has been verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).