Trump declares US leaving ‘horrible’ Iran nuclear accord; Hatch, Lee support decision

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the landmark nuclear accord with Iran Tuesday, declaring he was making the world safer in restoring harsh sanctions. But he also dealt a profound blow to allies, deepened his isolation on the world stage and revived doubts about American credibility in the most consequential foreign policy action of his presidency.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, of Tennessee, speaks with reporters after a policy luncheon on Capitol Hill, May 8, 2018 in Washington. President Trump says the United States is withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, which he called “defective at its core.” | Associated Press photo by Alex Brandon, St. George News

The leaders of Germany, France and Britain, co-signers of the agreement, expressed regret and said they would try to salvage the accord with Iran. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he was sending his foreign minister to work with those remaining countries but warned there was only a short time to negotiate with them and his country could soon “start enriching uranium more than before.”

The 2015 accord, which lifted major economic sanctions against Iran, was specifically aimed at preventing that result. But Trump said, “The Iran deal is defective at its core.”

“If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons,” Trump said in a televised address from the White House.

He said the United States “will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction.”

Utah’s two Republican senators, Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, released statements in support of Trump’s action.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses his nation in a televised speech in Tehran, Iran, May 8, 2018. Rouhani said he’d send his foreign minister to negotiate with countries remaining in the nuclear deal after Donald Trump’s decision to pull America from the deal, warning he otherwise would restart enriching uranium “in the next weeks.” | Iranian Presidency Office via Associated Press, St. George News

Trump’s decision means Iran’s government must now decide whether to follow the U.S. and withdraw or try to salvage what’s left of the deal. The leaders of Britain, Germany and France immediately urged the U.S. not to take any actions that could prevent them and Iran from continuing to implement the agreement. The statement from Prime Minister Theresa May, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron also urged Iran to “show restraint” and continue fulfilling its own obligations such as cooperating with inspections.

In Washington, the Trump administration said it would re-impose sanctions on Iran immediately but allow grace periods for businesses to wind down activity.

The Treasury Department said there would be “certain 90-day and 180-day wind-down periods” but didn’t specify which sanctions would fall under which timelines. Treasury said that at the end of those periods, the sanctions will be in “full effect.”

National Security Adviser John Bolton said nobody should sign contracts for new business with Iran.

Utah Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee | Photos courtesy of the senators’ respective offices, St. George News

If the deal collapses entirely, Iran would be free to resume prohibited enrichment activities. Meanwhile, businesses and banks doing business with Iran will have to scramble to extricate themselves or run afoul of the U.S.

For nations contemplating striking their own sensitive deals with Trump, such as North Korea, the withdrawal will increase suspicions that they cannot expect lasting U.S. fidelity to international agreements it signs. Yet nations like Israel and Saudi Arabia that loathed the deal are likely to see it as a sign the United States is returning to a more skeptical, less trusting approach to dealing with adversaries.

Former President Barack Obama, whose administration negotiated the deal, called the Trump decision “misguided.” He added that “the consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to risks eroding America’s credibility and puts us at odds with the world’s major powers.”

Hatch said Tuesday he applauds Trump’s decision.

“The Iran deal is deeply problematic in substance and design, and for too long, it has been a substitute for any broader US thinking on the region. With our withdrawal from the deal, we can now focus on working together, across the aisle and across the Atlantic, to counter Iran’s malign activities, from its nuclear weapons program to its human rights abuses.

Lee added: “It is unfortunate that the previous administration rushed to produce an executive agreement with Iran that it knew could never withstand the scrutiny of the United States Senate. I hope that the current administration will be able to negotiate a better deal and that when it does it will submit the resulting treaty to the Senate for ratification as required by the Constitution.”

Trump, who repeatedly criticized the accord during his presidential campaign, said Tuesday that documents recently released by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed Iran had attempted to develop a nuclear bomb in the previous decade, especially before 2003. Although Trump gave no explicit evidence that Iran violated the deal, he said Iran had clearly lied in the past and could not be trusted.

Iran has denied ever pursuing nuclear arms.

Netanyahu welcomed Trump’s announcement, calling it a “historic move.”

There was a predictably mixed reaction from Congress. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said the Iran deal “was flawed from the beginning,” and he looked forward to working with Trump on next steps. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, slammed Trump in a statement, saying this “rash decision isolates America, not Iran.”

The 2015 agreement had lifted most U.S. and international sanctions against Iran. In return, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program that would make it impossible to produce a bomb, along with rigorous inspections.

In a burst of last-minute diplomacy, punctuated by a visit by Britain’s top diplomat, the deal’s European members gave in to many of Trump’s demands, according to officials, diplomats and others briefed on the negotiations. Yet the Europeans realized he was unpersuaded to back off.

Trump spoke with Macron and Chinese leader Xi Jinping about his decision Tuesday. The British foreign secretary traveled to Washington this week to make a last-minute pitch to the U.S. to remain in the deal, according to a senior British diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Hours before the announcement, European countries met in Brussels with Iran’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs, Abbas Araghchi.

In Iran, many are deeply concerned about how Trump’s decision could affect the already struggling economy. In Tehran, Rouhani sought to calm nerves, smiling as he appeared at a petroleum expo. He didn’t name Trump directly, but emphasized that Iran continued to seek “engagement with the world.”

The first 15 months of Trump’s presidency have been filled with many “last chances” for the Iran deal in which he’s punted the decision for another few months, and then another. As he left his announcement Tuesday, he predicted that Iranians would someday “want to make a new and lasting deal” and that “when they do, I am ready, willing and able.”

Even Trump’s secretary of state and the U.N. agency that monitors nuclear compliance agree that Iran, so far, has lived up to its side of the deal. But the deal’s critics, such as Israel, the Gulf Arab states and many Republicans, say it’s a giveaway to Tehran that ultimately would pave the way to a nuclear-armed Iran.

For the Europeans, Trump’s withdrawal constitutes dispiriting proof that trying to appease him is futile.

Although the U.S. and Europeans made progress on ballistic missiles and inspections, there were disagreements over extending the life of the deal and how to trigger additional penalties if Iran were found in violation, U.S. officials and European diplomats have said.

By CATHERINE LUCEY and JOSH LEDERMAN, Associated Press

Associated Press writers Matthew Lee, Jill Colvin, Zeke Miller and Ken Thomas in Washington and Amir Vahdat and Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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27 Comments

  • RadRabbit May 8, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Should have never entered it in the first place. Glad to see President Trump taking another strong stance.

    • comments May 8, 2018 at 9:32 pm

      “Glad to see President Trump taking another strong stance.”

      your president ‘the donald’ is just obeying orders from his masters.

      • John May 8, 2018 at 9:50 pm

        You honestly can’t be that stupid, can you?

        • comments May 8, 2018 at 11:03 pm

          oh johnboy, did i offend your donald idolization and mancrush? The donald takes his orders from israel. it’s quite plain to see.

          • Striker4 May 9, 2018 at 6:56 am

            and another stupid and ignorant comment by the Prophet Bob ..wow this guy is an EXPERT on everything isn’t he amazing folks ?

          • John May 9, 2018 at 10:34 am

            You didn’t offend me.. you just insulted your own meager intelligence. The question still stands, Are you really that stupid?

          • Lee Saunders May 9, 2018 at 9:30 pm

            Israel and Putin, actually.

        • Icomments2 May 9, 2018 at 12:59 am

          I guess he can be that stupid!!! And theres a special place for those kinds of stupid too!!!

      • RadRabbit May 9, 2018 at 11:01 am

        Cause a theocratic totalitarian Iran are the friends we need to have right? Maybe if Iran wants nukes so bad Israel will accommodate them. This deal was a flaming garbage fire from the start.

  • No Filter May 9, 2018 at 9:22 am

    What do we gain from leaving this agreement? All he did was make the middle east even more unstable than it already is, for what? To make Israel happy? Must be his Jewish roots. Iran is just going to give us the finger and move on with their lives, we haven’t won anything by leaving the Iran accord other than kissing Israel’s a$$.

    • John May 9, 2018 at 10:38 am

      He did it to make liberal heads like yours explode..hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! You are really clueless!

      • No Filter May 9, 2018 at 11:41 am

        You like to call people clueless, but you never back up your statement. What am I so clueless about, please enlighten me with your foreign affairs knowledge.

        • John May 9, 2018 at 11:03 pm

          I don’t need to back it up ! You do it for me. You are clueless! You do not have a clue about the reality of the situation (about everything) and the proof that you don’t fact check is the substance of your lame comments. Clean that filter and use your brain for something other than a THC repository !

          • No Filter May 10, 2018 at 8:59 am

            Still waiting Lumpy! You are stalling. If I didn’t “fact check” then what is the truth? Enlighten us all please. Your words are as believable as Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen. Did Trump really pull out of Iran deal to make my head spin? or did someone funnel money through his lawyer to do it? Lets ask Rudy Giuliani, he always tells the truth!

    • RadRabbit May 9, 2018 at 11:06 am

      Your antisemitism is showing.

      • comments May 9, 2018 at 11:17 am

        ANTISEMITE!!! thats every bit as low as leftists calling everyone they disagree with racists. If you people think israel is “a friend” of the US you have been fooled or are a fool.

        • RadRabbit May 9, 2018 at 11:42 am

          Twist that tin foil hat a little tighter they can hear your thoughts.

          • comments May 9, 2018 at 4:06 pm

            The only tinfoil hat situation is you believing israel is “a friend and ally”. Have you got that trump boycrush just like john?

        • John May 9, 2018 at 11:04 pm

          Give it up! You are just proving that you are really that stupid ! hahahahahahahahaha!

      • No Filter May 9, 2018 at 11:40 am

        I have nothing against the Jewish faith or people, just the government in Israel.

        • comments May 9, 2018 at 4:04 pm

          agree.

        • John May 10, 2018 at 12:56 am

          The ball brothers, they hang together! hahahahahaha!

          • mesaman May 10, 2018 at 8:50 pm

            Very appropriate humor in this gnashing of the gnomes.

  • mctrialsguy May 9, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    He goes where no president before him has gone or walked before….actually keeping his campaign promises. The Iran deal was paying off those that might upset the Obama apple cart.

  • RadRabbit May 9, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Obama wanted to bypass Congress and just sign a deal with the Iranians well as easy as he signed it Trump undid it.

  • Lee Saunders May 9, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    Keep an eye on fuel prices, all you who support leaving the deal. Gas prices were already skyrocketing just on the threat of leaving the deal. T rump, as usual, manages to screw the common folk, the little guy, again. You don’t need to be an economist to see how inflationary this move could become, let alone the risk of causing further disruption in the Middle East.

    • John May 9, 2018 at 11:05 pm

      Drink a little more of that MSM libtard kool-aid! You fools are getting to be quite entertaining. Clueless just like clogged filter boy!

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