“US sanctions against Iran will now begin to be put back into place over the next several months.”
President Donald Trump said Tuesday he would withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, allowing sanctions against the country to resume.
“It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement,” Trump said, standing in the White House. “The Iran deal is defective at its core.”
Trump said that in getting rid of the deal, he was also “instituting the highest level of economic sanction” against Iran’s nuclear program in the hopes of drawing Tehran back to the negotiating table.
Under the memorandum that Trump signed following his speech, the US Treasury Department will begin to reinstate sanctions that were waived under the Iran deal, to be completed no later than 180 days from Tuesday. Businesses will have to begin winding down their dealings that were put in place under the terms of the deal and no new contracts will be allowed to come into effect.
Sanctions that levy penalties against banks and other financial institutions in countries that import oil from Iran were due to snap back into place at the end of the week absent a waiver from Trump. Others, targeting sectors of the Iranian economy including shipping and aviation, were due to expire in July.
“Iran’s leaders will naturally say that they refuse to negotiate a new deal,” Trump continued. “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.”
Trump has consistently scorned the deal since the campaign trail; as president, he called it one of the worst agreements the US has ever negotiated. He has resisted pressure from international allies, including French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who made extraordinary appeals to him to stay in the deal by appearing on Fox News over the past several days.
Trump and his allies have insisted the deal is too generous to Iran, naively allows Tehran to run out the clock on the deal’s expiration date, and ignores its missile program and military adventures in Syria and elsewhere in the region. The Obama administration finalized negotiations on the deal in 2015, alongside the UK, France, Russia, China, Germany, and the European Union, and it was presented as a major foreign policy win. Under its terms, the US and others would lift some unilateral and multilateral sanctions targeting Iran and unfreeze seized Iranian assets worth $100 billion. In return, Iran would halt almost all nuclear enrichment, eliminate its stockpile of enriched uranium, drastically reduce the number of centrifuges it would be able to operate, and allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency into its facilities.
Since the deal was agreed upon, the IAEA has verified Iran’s compliance 11 times, most recently in February.