Donald Trump is pulling the United States out of the Iranian nuclear deal, thus dismantling his predecessor’s key foreign policy initiative. The US President called the deal “horrible,” “one-sided” and “disastrous” when speaking in the White House yesterday (8 May). Mr. Trump said he planned to re-impose sanctions on Tehran and added that the US would sanction any nation that helps Iran develop nuclear weapons as well as US and foreign companies and banks that do business with the country. The White House said that the sanctions are immediately back in effect and any new deals and financial contracts are banned. The US administration said that firms and banks have either 90 or 180 days to wind down any existing business relations and transactions.
European leaders have jointly rejected the US decision and announced that they were committed to the nuclear deal and urged Iran to stay compliant. EU diplomacy chief Federica Mogherini commented on the latest development: “Let me conclude with a message to the Iranian citizens and leaders: Do not let anyone dismantle this agreement”. “This agreement remains important for our shared security,” said British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, adding that they saw Mr. Trump’s with “regret and concern”.
While the US withdrawal is yet another blow to the trans-Atlantic ties, Saudi Arabia and Israel have welcomed President Trump’s decision. However, with Washington and Brussels fundamentally at odds, diplomatic efforts to constrain Tehran’s nuclear program have entered uncharted territory, analysts say. The nuclear deal limits Iran’s capacity to enrich uranium and makes it possible to monitor its nuclear program. European leaders have, however, pointed out that the US has yet to explain how it plans to monitor Iran’s nuclear activities if they are withdrawing from the current deal.