In Brief

Donald Trump pulls US out of Iran nuclear deal

US president vows the ‘highest level of economic sanctions’ against Tehran

Donald Trump has withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal, pitting him against the United States’ closest allies, leaving the future of Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in question and stirring uncertainty in the Gulf. 

“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 in a statement at the White House yesterday. “The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing we know exactly what will happen.”

The US president then signed an executive order “reimposing sanctions on any foreign company that continues to do business with Iran”, The Guardian says.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani responded shortly after the announcement, ordering that the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran to be “ready for action if needed, so that if necessary we can resume our [uranium] enrichment on an industrial level without any limitations”.

Rouhani also indicated that Tehran will speak with the other signatories to the deal to see if it will be possible to meet the goals of the deal without the United States.

However, that seems unlikely as the scope of the economic sanctions proposed by Trump – including a complete ban on any US companies or people doing business with Iran – would have a flow-on effect to other countries.

The move comes despite fierce lobbying by the UK, Germany and France who are also signatories of the agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and had urged Trump not to back away out.

The leaders of those nations issued a statement expressing “regret and concern” at Trump’s decision, while reaffirming their commitment to the deal.

CNN says Trump’s decision could have “explosive consequences”, and potentially strain US ties with some of its closest allies while “disrupting oil markets and boosting tensions in the Middle East”.

According to The New York Times, the move could “embolden hard-line forces in Iran,” raising the prospect of Iranian retaliation against Israel or the United States, while also “fuelling an arms race in the Middle East and fanning sectarian conflicts from Syria to Yemen.”

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