Obama says Trump’s pull-out of Iran deal ‘serious mistake’; EU disapproves

Former US President Barack Obama criticised President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The EU President said the move “will meet a united European approach”

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images
Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images


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. The Treasury Department said that these sanctions would be reinstated after foreign companies wind down their contracts with Iran over 90-day and 180-day periods.

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.

European Council President Donald Tusk expressed his disapproval. "Policies of Donald Trump on Iran Deal and trade will meet a united European approach," Tusk tweeted, minutes after Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Iran deal. "EU leaders will tackle both issues at the summit in Sofia next week," Tusk added.

Trump’s move 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).

Obama condemns Trump decision to pull-out of Iran deal

Former US President Barack Obama criticised Trump’s decision, calling the move a "serious mistake". "I believe that the decision to put the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) at risk without any Iranian violation of the deal is a serious mistake," Obama said in a statement soon after Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the agreement.

The former President said that the decision to pull the US out of the nuclear deal, signed with Iran, Russia, China, France the United Kingdom and Germany, was "misguided" and that it "turns our back on America's closest allies."

"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," Obama said.

Countering Trump's criticisms of the JCPOA, Obama said that the agreement "is working," since it has "significantly rolled back" Iran's nuclear program.

The JCPOA strictly limits Iran's capabilities to produce nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

Obama added that, according to US intelligence agencies, Iran "is meeting its responsibilities under the deal" and that pulling the United States out of the agreement could undermine it and "trigger an arms race."

Inputs by NH Web Desk

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Published: 09 May 2018, 7:36 AM