Trump announces US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal

May 9, 2018 15:00 IST
Trump announces US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal

The President of United States, Donald Trump on May 8, 2018 announced US withdrawal from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

Trump stated through a televised address that the 2015 agreement, which included Germany, France and Britain, was a "horrible one-sided deal that should never ever have been made." He added that the United States "will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction."

He stated that any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States.

The statements come as a blow to US allies, which are supporting the deal.

About 2015 nuclear deal

  • The Iran nuclear deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was forged in 2015 during the Obama administration under then-Secretary of State John Kerry, as a multi-nation effort to keep Iran's nuclear program in check.
  • The agreement was negotiated between Iran and the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, Germany and the European Union.
  • The landmark agreement lifted all US, EU, UN sanctions on Iran that crippled its economy and cut its oil exports roughly in half.
  • In exchange for sanctions relief, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program and reduce its uranium enrichment activities.
  • Iran also allowed international inspectors to inspect all of its nuclear facilities, supply chains and uranium mining sites.
  • The deal had been an effective arms control deal that has kept Iran's nuclear program frozen for three years.

US decision: Key Highlights

Trump blasted the deal as "defective at its core." He said that he fears the 2015 deal will allow the Iranian regime to accumulate nuclear weapons. He cited documents that were recently released by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as evidence.

Netanyahu, a leading critic of the deal had recently unveiled documents seized by Israeli intelligence, which showed that Iran had attempted to develop a nuclear bomb in the previous decade, especially before 2003. Iran has denied ever pursuing nuclear arms.

The Trump administration also said it would immediately re-impose sanctions on Iran that were suspended under the deal but allow grace periods for businesses to gradually slow down activity.

The US Treasury Department said there will be ‘certain 90-day and 180-day wind-down periods’ but didn't specify which sanctions would fall under which timelines.

The department said that at the end of the periods, the sanctions will be in full effect.

The US National Security Adviser John Bolton also urged everyone to avoid signing any new business contracts with Iran.

Reactions from US allies

The leaders of US’s closest allies – Britain, Germany and France expressed ‘regret and concern’ over Trump's decision and said they intend to preserve the 2015 agreement.

In a joint statement on May 8, the leaders of the three nations called on Iran to continue implementing the deal and urged Trump to avoid taking any action that would prevent them from implementing the agreement.

The leaders also urged the United States to do everything possible to preserve the gains for nuclear non-proliferation brought about by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), the deal’s official name.

 Trump announces US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal

Impact of the withdrawal

The withdrawal means that the US will not renew the sanctions waiver it had imposed earlier.

Though Iran's foreign minister had previously said that re-imposition of US sanctions would make the deal null and void, leaving the nation with little choice but to abandon it as well.

On May 7, President Rouhani said that Iran could stick with the deal if the European Union, whose economies do far more business with Iran than the US, offers a guarantee that Iran would keep benefiting.

However, if the nuclear deal does collapse, Iran would be free to resume its prohibited nuclear program and enrichment activities.

On the other hand, businesses and banks doing business with Iran would be forced to exit such arrangements or go against the United States.

For the US, though the exit fulfills one of Trump's campaign promises, it threatens to strain US relations with some of its closest allies and disrupt a significant source of the world's oil.

List of US withdrawals

1. US pulls out of UN’s migrant and refugee pact

The United States has withdrawn itself from a United Nations pact to improve the handling of migrant and refugee situations deeming it ‘inconsistent’ with its immigration policies.

 2. US President Donald Trump signs executive order to pull US out of TPP

Donald Trump signed an executive order on January 23, 2017, immediately after his accession to power, to formally pull the country out of the negotiating process of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), one of the major international trade initiatives of Barack Obama. Trump felt the partnership to be harmful to American workers and manufacturing.

 3. Trump announces US withdrawal from Paris Agreement on Climate Change

President Donald Trump announced on June 1, 2017 that he would withdraw the United States from the landmark 2015 Paris agreement to fight climate change, stating that the accord would undermine US economy, cost US jobs, weaken American national sovereignty and put the country at a permanent disadvantage to the other countries of the world.

 4. US withdraws from UNESCO

 The United States and its ally Israel announced on October 12, 2017 that they were pulling out of the UN's culture and education body, UNESCO, accusing it of anti-Israel bias.

 5. US regulators repeal net neutrality rules

 The United States Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines on December 14, 2017 to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order which protects net neutrality in the United States.


Trump announces US withdrawal from Paris Agreement on Climate Change

US, Israel withdraw from UNESCO, accusing the cultural body of 'anti-Israel bias’

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