Exiting the Deal I: Trump Remarks

May 8, 2018
Updated

On May 8, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. "The fact is this was a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made. It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will," Trump said in his address. "The agreement was so poorly negotiated that even if Iran fully complies, the regime can still be on the verge of a nuclear breakout in just a short period of time," he claimed. "It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement." The following is video and transcript of Trump's remarks and statements from U.S. officials.  

 

President Donald Trump 

THE PRESIDENT:  My fellow Americans:  Today, I want to update the world on our efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

The Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terror.  It exports dangerous missiles, fuels conflicts across the Middle East, and supports terrorist proxies and militias such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, and al Qaeda.

Over the years, Iran and its proxies have bombed American embassies and military installations, murdered hundreds of American servicemembers, and kidnapped, imprisoned, and tortured American citizens.  The Iranian regime has funded its long reign of chaos and terror by plundering the wealth of its own people.

No action taken by the regime has been more dangerous than its pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them.

In 2015, the previous administration joined with other nations in a deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program.  This agreement was known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

In theory, the so-called “Iran deal” was supposed to protect the United States and our allies from the lunacy of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a weapon that will only endanger the survival of the Iranian regime.  In fact, the deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium and, over time, reach the brink of a nuclear breakout.

The deal lifted crippling economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for very weak limits on the regime’s nuclear activity, and no limits at all on its other malign behavior, including its sinister activities in Syria, Yemen, and other places all around the world.

In other words, at the point when the United States had maximum leverage, this disastrous deal gave this regime — and it’s a regime of great terror — many billions of dollars, some of it in actual cash — a great embarrassment to me as a citizen and to all citizens of the United States.

A constructive deal could easily have been struck at the time, but it wasn’t.  At the heart of the Iran deal was a giant fiction that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear energy program.

Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie.  Last week, Israel published intelligence documents long concealed by Iran, conclusively showing the Iranian regime and its history of pursuing nuclear weapons.

The fact is this was a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made.  It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.

In the years since the deal was reached, Iran’s military budget has grown by almost 40 percent, while its economy is doing very badly.  After the sanctions were lifted, the dictatorship used its new funds to build nuclear-capable missiles, support terrorism, and cause havoc throughout the Middle East and beyond.

The agreement was so poorly negotiated that even if Iran fully complies, the regime can still be on the verge of a nuclear breakout in just a short period of time.  The deal’s sunset provisions are totally unacceptable.  If I allowed this deal to stand, there would soon be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.  Everyone would want their weapons ready by the time Iran had theirs.

Making matters worse, the deal’s inspection provisions lack adequate mechanisms to prevent, detect, and punish cheating, and don’t even have the unqualified right to inspect many important locations, including military facilities.

Not only does the deal fail to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but it also fails to address the regime’s development of ballistic missiles that could deliver nuclear warheads.

Finally, the deal does nothing to constrain Iran’s destabilizing activities, including its support for terrorism.  Since the agreement, Iran’s bloody ambitions have grown only more brazen.

In light of these glaring flaws, I announced last October that the Iran deal must either be renegotiated or terminated.

Three months later, on January 12th, I repeated these conditions.  I made clear that if the deal could not be fixed, the United States would no longer be a party to the agreement.

Over the past few months, we have engaged extensively with our allies and partners around the world, including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.  We have also consulted with our friends from across the Middle East.  We are unified in our understanding of the threat and in our conviction that Iran must never acquire a nuclear weapon.

After these consultations, it is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement.

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.

Therefore, I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

In a few moments, I will sign a presidential memorandum to begin reinstating U.S. nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime.  We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction.  Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States.

America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail.  We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction.  And we will not allow a regime that chants “Death to America” to gain access to the most deadly weapons on Earth.

Today’s action sends a critical message:  The United States no longer makes empty threats.  When I make promises, I keep them.  In fact, at this very moment, Secretary Pompeo is on his way to North Korea in preparation for my upcoming meeting with Kim Jong-un.  Plans are being made.  Relationships are building.  Hopefully, a deal will happen and, with the help of China, South Korea, and Japan, a future of great prosperity and security can be achieved for everyone.

As we exit the Iran deal, we will be working with our allies to find a real, comprehensive, and lasting solution to the Iranian nuclear threat.  This will include efforts to eliminate the threat of Iran’s ballistic missile program; to stop its terrorist activities worldwide; and to block its menacing activity across the Middle East.  In the meantime, powerful sanctions will go into full effect.  If the regime continues its nuclear aspirations, it will have bigger problems than it has ever had before.

Finally, I want to deliver a message to the long-suffering people of Iran:  The people of America stand with you.  It has now been almost 40 years since this dictatorship seized power and took a proud nation hostage.  Most of Iran’s 80 million citizens have sadly never known an Iran that prospered in peace with its neighbors and commanded the admiration of the world.

But the future of Iran belongs to its people.  They are the rightful heirs to a rich culture and an ancient land.  And they deserve a nation that does justice to their dreams, honor to their history, and glory to God.

Iran’s leaders will naturally say that they refuse to negotiate a new deal; they refuse.  And that’s fine.  I’d probably say the same thing if I was in their position.  But the fact is they are going to want to make a new and lasting deal, one that benefits all of Iran and the Iranian people.  When they do, I am ready, willing, and able.

Great things can happen for Iran, and great things can happen for the peace and stability that we all want in the Middle East.

There has been enough suffering, death, and destruction.  Let it end now.

― May 8, 2018, in a televised address 

 

"The conference we had yesterday was a very important one. You look at the deal that we had with Iran, it was a one-sided deal that ultimately was going to lead to nuclear proliferation all over the Middle East. And they were talking about it; other countries were talking about it. It was going to lead to that. They are all very happy at what I did. That was a one-sided deal that we spent $150 billion and $1.8 billion in cash on getting done. And it was not good, and it was not appropriate.

And we’ll see how we do with Iran. Probably, we won’t do very well with them, but that’s okay too. They’ve got to understand life, because I don’t think they do understand life. If you look at what’s happening in the Middle East with Syria, with Yemen, with all of the places they’re involved, it’s bedlam and death. And we can’t allow that to happen.

So we have terminated a terrible, terrible deal that should have never, ever been made. And we will be putting on among the strongest sanctions that we’ve ever put on a country. And they’re going into effect very shortly. They’re mostly constituted and drawn already, and we’ll just have to see what happens.

But we can’t allow a deal to hurt the world. That’s a deal to hurt the world; that’s not a deal for the United States. That’s a deal to hurt the world and, certainly, Israel. You saw Benjamin Netanyahu get up yesterday and talk so favorably about what we did.

Some of the senators, I watch them now as they say, “Oh, he shouldn’t have done it.” But they don’t say it — the Democratic senators — they don’t say with their full throat; they don’t say it with heart. Because they have one problem: They were totally against it. Like Chuck Schumer was totally against the deal. He voted against the deal. He was fighting with Obama. In fact, I remember reading at the time they ended up in a fight together over this deal because he wanted to protect Israel. And he knows this deal is very bad for Israel and very bad for the Middle East. But I know that they voted against it, and then you’ll see Chuck Schumer say, “Oh, he shouldn’t have ended the deal.” It’s like, oh — perhaps he changed his mind. But, by the way, the deal only got worse.

So we have a lot of exciting things happening, and I think that’s going to be an exciting thing. And perhaps — and Iran will never say it because they’re great negotiators. Kerry never had a chance against the gentleman he was negotiating with. The first time I saw that man, I watched him on a certain show — a show of an anchor who is no longer with us. He was taken down. But it was an interesting show. And I looked at him, and after about three minutes of watching the show, I said, “There’s no way that Kerry can negotiate against this gentleman.” And that turned out to be a fact.

So we’re going to make either a really good deal for the world, or we’re not going to make a deal at all. And Iran will come back and say, “We don’t want to negotiate.” And of course, they’re going to say that. And if I were in their position, I’d say that, too, for the first couple of months, “We’re not going to negotiate.” But they’ll negotiate, or something will happen. And hopefully that won’t be the case."

"Q What are you going to do if Iran starts up their nuclear program again?

THE PRESIDENT: Iran will find out. They’re going to find out. I don’t think they should do that. I would advise Iran not to start their nuclear program. I would advise them very strongly.

If they do, there will be very severe consequence. Okay?"

― May 9, 2018, in a cabinet meeting

 

Office of the Press Secretary:

PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP IS ENDING UNITED STATES PARTICIPATION IN AN UNACCEPTABLE IRAN DEAL

“The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.” – President Donald J. Trump

PROTECTING AMERICA FROM A BAD DEAL: President Donald J. Trump is terminating the United States’ participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and re-imposing sanctions lifted under the deal.

  • President Trump is terminating United States participation in the JCPOA, as it failed to protect America’s national security interests.
  • The JCPOA enriched the Iranian regime and enabled its malign behavior, while at best delaying its ability to pursue nuclear weapons and allowing it to preserve nuclear research and development.
  • The President has directed his Administration to immediately begin the process of re-imposing sanctions related to the JCPOA.
  • The re-imposed sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy, such as its energy, petrochemical, and financial sectors.
    • Those doing business in Iran will be provided a period of time to allow them to wind down operations in or business involving Iran.
  • Those who fail to wind down such activities with Iran by the end of the period will risk severe consequences.
  • United States withdrawal from the JCPOA will pressure the Iranian regime to alter its course of malign activities and ensure that Iranian bad acts are no longer rewarded. As a result, both Iran and its regional proxies will be put on notice. As importantly, this step will help ensure global funds stop flowing towards illicit terrorist and nuclear activities.

IRAN’S BAD FAITH AND BAD ACTIONS: Iran negotiated the JCPOA in bad faith, and the deal gave the Iranian regime too much in exchange for too little.

  • Intelligence recently released by Israel provides compelling details about Iran’s past secret efforts to develop nuclear weapons, which it lied about for years.
    • The intelligence further demonstrates that the Iranian regime did not come clean about its nuclear weapons activity, and that it entered the JCPOA in bad faith.
  • The JCPOA failed to deal with the threat of Iran’s missile program and did not include a strong enough mechanism for inspections and verification.
  • The JCPOA foolishly gave the Iranian regime a windfall of cash and access to the international financial system for trade and investment.
    • Instead of using the money from the JCPOA to support the Iranian people at home, the regime has instead funded a military buildup and continues to fund its terrorist proxies, such as Hizballah and Hamas.
    • Iran violated the laws and regulations of European countries to counterfeit the currency of its neighbor, Yemen, to support the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force’s destabilizing activities.
  1. IRANIAN AGGRESSION: President Trump is committed to ensuring Iran has no possible path to a nuclear weapon and is addressing the threats posed by the regime’s malign activities.
  • President Trump will work to assemble a broad coalition of nations to deny Iran all paths to a nuclear weapon and to counter the totality of the regime’s malign activities.
    • Nations must work together to halt the Iranian regime’s destabilizing drive for regional hegemony.
      • In Syria, the Iranian regime supports the Assad regime and is complicit in Assad’s atrocities against the Syrian people.
      • In Yemen, the regime has escalated the conflict and used the Houthis as a proxy to attack other nations.
      • In Iraq, Iran’s IRGC sponsors Shia militant groups and terrorists.
      • In Lebanon, the Iranian regime enables Hizballah to play a highly destabilizing role and to build an arsenal of weapons that threatens the region.
    • The Administration’s actions are directed against the malign behavior of the Iranian regime, not against the Iranian people, who are the regime’s longest-suffering victims.
  • President Trump is making clear that, in addition to never developing a nuclear weapon, the Iranian regime must:
    • Never have an ICBM, cease developing any nuclear-capable missiles, and stop proliferating ballistic missiles to others.
    • Cease its support for terrorists, extremists, and regional proxies, such as Hizballah, Hamas, the Taliban, and al-Qa’ida.
    • End its publicly declared quest to destroy Israel.
    • Stop its threats to freedom of navigation, especially in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea.
    • Cease escalating the Yemen conflict and destabilizing the region by proliferating weapons to the Houthis.
    • End its cyber-attacks against the United States and our allies, including Israel.
    • Stop its grievous human rights abuses, shown most recently in the regime’s crackdown against widespread protests by Iranian citizens.
    • Stop its unjust detention of foreigners, including United States citizens

― May 8, 2018, in a press release 

 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

QUESTION: You brought those three Americans home from North Korea. There are still at least four Americans being held in Iran. Their families are concerned that tearing up this diplomacy, exiting the nuclear deal, puts their loved ones at risk. What can you tell them?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Two things. First, everyone should know that this administration is intent on bringing home every American who is held anywhere in the world. We’ve got Pastor Brunson in Turkey that we desperately need to get back. We have others held in Iran and in Syria. We are working diligently to get each of them back.

With respect to whether the actions of this past week with respect to the JCPOA increased anyone’s risk, I think that’s ludicrous. The Iranian bad behavior increased, it only increased, during the time of the JCPOA.

QUESTION: Are you willing – are you willing to carry out a prisoner swap with Iran still?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I can’t answer that question. We didn’t exchange anything for these North Korean detainees. They came back because Chairman Kim thought it was in his best interest to do so, and we are thankful for that. And we are hopeful that Mr. Rouhani, who fancies himself a Westerner, would undertake to release the Iranian detainees as well. He talks about the fact that he wants European business there. The least he could do would be to return all of the people that his country, Mr. Rouhani’s country, has hold of.

QUESTION: Fundamentally, a number of our European allies, as you know – I’m sure you’ve had some difficult conversations in the past few days – have been frustrated that the U.S. cut short the diplomacy, in their view. They said in a conversation with you last Friday you assured them that they had – they were close to this side deal to address the things President Trump was worried about. Why not try it? Why not finish that? Why did the President cut that off?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Oh, Margaret, we did. We did try. The President set out a set of objectives. He tasked me in my first couple weeks to work with the Europeans to try and do it, although the work had been ongoing before I arrived at the State Department. And at no time were we able to reach an agreement. The Europeans simply wouldn’t accede to the requirements to fix the deal. And so they had some 90 days to do so. We were --

QUESTION: Mm-hmm. They thought they had another five days and could get there on the sunset clause.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Margaret, we had 90 days to work at it. And you should know we will continue to work. President Trump and President Macron have both said we want to get a deal that’s right, a bigger deal. We will be hard at that in the weeks ahead. I hope to be a central part of achieving that. It would be a wonderful thing if we could get the Europeans to do this.

But Margaret, I do want to add this: Fundamentally, what’s happened during the time of the JCPOA was that the Iranian wealth creation fueled their malign behavior. The money that they had to go and launch missiles into Riyadh and Israel – putting Americans at risk – was provided by the economic benefits they got from the JCPOA. President Trump wants to starve them of that wealth.

QUESTION: So fundamentally though, are you trying to negotiate a new nuclear deal, or are you trying to put together a coalition to defeat Iran?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We are going to put together a coalition that pushes back against not only Iran’s nuclear program – which, by the way, Margaret, they still deny. No Iranian leader has admitted they had a weapons program, and the facts are now public that they did. They ought to at least be honest about that. But it’s not going to just be the nuclear file. It will be their missile program. It will be their effort to build Hizballah. It’ll be their threats against Israel. It’ll be the work that they’re doing in Yemen to launch missiles into Saudi Arabia, for goodness sakes.

This is the activity that the Iranian regime has undertaken during the JCPOA. We’re going to make a shift. We’re going to deny them the benefit of the economic wealth that has been created and put real pressure, so that they’ll stop the full scale of the sponsorship of terrorism with which they’ve been engaged in these past years.

― May 13, 2018, on CBS Face the Nation 

 

That’s ludicrous to suggest that Iran feels less constrained when during the JCPOA they have now fired missiles into an airport where Americans travel each day in Riyadh, they’ve now fired missiles into Israel; to suggest that somehow the withdrawal from the JCPOA is driving the Iranian conduct that’s taken place during the JCPOA in Yemen, the rise of Hizballah – all of those things took place during the JCPOA. Indeed, I would argue that they felt they could act with impunity. They watched. They watched Europe put exactly zero sanctions on their missile program during the JCPOA. I think Rouhani and Zarif need to explain why it’s the case that while this agreement was in place Iran continued its march across the Middle East.

QUESTION: President Trump made it clear that he’s not only going after Iran but he’s also prepared to sanction European companies that continue to do business in Tehran. Here is the President: “We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction. Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States.”

But the leaders of France, of Germany, of Britain all say that they’re going to stay in the deal and they’re going to look for a way to protect European companies that continue to do business. The question is: How hard is the Trump administration prepared to go after European companies that ignore the U.S. pulling out?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Two things, Chris. First, the wealth that was created in Iran as a result of the JCPOA drove Iranian malign activity. It fueled Qasem Soleimani. It fueled the IRGC. It provided resources for their work in Syria and Iraq. President Trump’s withdrawal is aimed at denying them that wealth, denying them the resources to continue their bad behavior, to take the money away from them.

The withdrawal wasn’t aimed at the Europeans. I worked hard over the short time I’ve been the Secretary of State to try and fix the deal. We couldn’t reach agreement with our E3 partners. I am hopeful in the days and weeks ahead we can come up with a deal that really works, that really protects the world from Iranian bad behavior, not just their nuclear program but their missiles and their malign behavior as well.

QUESTION: But what about --

SECRETARY POMPEO: And I’ll be working closely with the Europeans to try and achieve that, Chris.

QUESTION: But what about if the European companies and the European countries say look, there’s not going to be a renegotiation any more than there’s going to be a renegotiation of the Paris Climate Accord? Is the U.S. prepared to go after companies in our allies like Britain, France, and Germany, if they try to continue to do business?

SECRETARY POMPEO: The sanctions regime that is now in place is very clear about what the requirements are. My mission that I’ve been given by President Trump is to work to strike a deal that achieves the outcomes that protect America. That’s what we’re going to do, and I’ll be hard at it with the Europeans in the next several days.

― May 13, 2018, on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace 

 

"As we exit the Iran deal, we will be working with our allies to find a real, comprehensive, and lasting solution to the Iranian threat. We have a shared interest with our allies in Europe and around the world to prevent Iran from ever developing a nuclear weapon. But our effort is broader than just the nuclear threat and we will be working together with partners to eliminate the threat of Iran’s ballistic missile program; to stop its terrorist activities worldwide; and to block its menacing activity across the Middle East and beyond. As we build this global effort, sanctions will go into full effect and will remind the Iranian regime of the diplomatic and economic isolation that results from its reckless and malign activity."

― May 8, 2018, in a statement 

 

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis

"Our problem with Iran is not with the Iranian people. It is with the regime." 

"We will continue to work alongside our allies and partners to ensure that Iran can never acquire a nuclear weapon, and will work with others to address the range of Iran’s malign influence." 

"This took us over a year as we dealt with it on the inter-agency ... you saw it was not a hasty decision immediately after inauguration and I can assure you that the chairman and I were given full hearing." 

"[The President] got to a point where he just did not see that this was in our best interest to continue. It had to do with all the other things that Iran is certainly doing ... so all of this had to be mixed together, and to separate out what the chairman's or my advice was on our area, it had to be leavened with foreign policy concerns out of State, intel assessments of where they're at today and where they're going." 

"We will continue to work alongside our allies and partners to ensure that Iran can never acquire a nuclear weapon. We'll work with others to address the range of Iran's malign influence. This administration remains committed to putting the safety, interests and well-being of our citizens first."

― May 9, 2018, at a U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, according to CNN
 

"The president could not affirm as required that this agreement was being lived up to."

"I think we now have the opportunity to move forward to address those shortcomings and make it more compelling."

― May 9, 2018, at a U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, according to Reuters

 

Secretary of Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin

“President Trump has been consistent and clear that this Administration is resolved to addressing the totality of Iran’s destabilizing activities. We will continue to work with our allies to build an agreement that is truly in the best interest of our long-term national security. The United States will cut off the IRGC’s access to capital to fund Iranian malign activity, including its status as the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, its use of ballistic missiles against our allies, its support for the brutal Assad regime in Syria, its human rights violations against its own people, and its abuses of the international financial system.”

― May 8, 2018, in a statement

 

National Security Advisor John Bolton 

MARTHA RADDATZ: What parts of the so-called JPCOA, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, did Iran violate, in your eyes? The allies say nothing. The inspectors say nothing.

JOHN BOLTON: Well, the inspectors don't know everything. I mean, you can't say honestly that Iran didn't violate the the deal because we don't have adequate inspections. We only know -- we only know the sites...

RADDATZ: They're called the most robust in the world.

BOLTON: Well, that's wrong. That's just simply wrong. We have never had an adequate declaration from Iran of their prior military activities in connection with the nuclear program. It was a fundamental flaw of Barack Obama and John Kerry's negotiation of the deal that they gave that up. That just violates every precept of sound arms control negotiation.

Nor have we had, since the implementation of the deal, adequate -- really, any inspection of military facilities where the weaponization activities of the Iranians might be conducted. And I think what we saw when the Israelis released this treasure trove of prior information is that there very definitely was a prior military dimension, which gives the lie to the Iranian assertion that they didn't want nuclear weapons.

Moreover, during the entire course...

RADDATZ: Which they knew when they signed this, correct?

BOLTON: So, right. If you believe what you've just said, and if Barack Obama and John Kerry believe what you just said, they lied to the American people, because in Resolution 2231, the fifth preambular paragraph, where it says, we welcome Iran's reaffirming that they don't have any intention to have a nuclear weapons program, it was a lie at the time.

The administration then knew it was a lie and accepted it anyway. The Israeli information shows that on the weaponization aspect, Iran is one file drawer away from being pulled out to being right back on track. And that's only what's in the files. We have no idea what they've done since then.

This network revealed in 2007 the weaponization activities in Parchin, Iran which the Iranians have flatly denied ever since. That's the kind of background that leads you to believe that the Iranians never had any real intention of complying.

RADDATZ: So Ambassador Bolton, in the interim, are we safer?

How can we know about their nuclear weapons program?

BOLTON: I think we have inadequate information on the nuclear weapons program now. So the real answer to your question is, we don't know. Since we don't know where they are now, we won't know where they are for sure in the near future.

But I will tell you, if you look at the advances that Iran has made under cover of this agreement, its conventional military and terrorist advances, in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen, since 2015, Iran was really on the march. They were shifting the balance of power in the Middle East until President Trump got out of this deal.

RADDATZ: Would you advocate for regime change?

BOLTON: That's not the policy of the administration. The policy of the administration is to make sure that Iran never gets close to deliverable nuclear weapons.

RADDATZ: And reports this morning in "The New York Times" say that the United States and Europe had reached consensus on 90 percent of a supplemental agreement, according to people involved in those talks.

BOLTON: I don't believe it's true. I have read the text of the supplemental agreement. It didn't address the basic flaws in the agreement that President Trump identified.

And back to you, President Trump identified these flaws two years ago. Nobody in the world, nobody should be surprised that the president's entirely consistent view on the negative aspects of this deal finally materialized on Tuesday in the U.S. getting out of the deal.

RADDATZ: The leaders of the U.K., France, Germany, issued a joint statement, emphasizing their, quote, "continued commitment to the nuclear deal." They say Iran has been compliant and, quote, "the world is a safer place as a result." The new ambassador to Germany, Richard Grinnell, tweeted this after that. "As @RealDonaldTrump said, U.S. Sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran's economy. German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately." The ambassador's just making a suggestion of course, not a demand. But will the U.S. punish countries or companies who keep ties with Iran?

BOLTON: Well, I think the president said in his statement on Tuesday that countries that countries that continue to deal with Iran could face U.S. sanctions. Europeans are going to face the effective U.S. sanctions, already are really, because much of what they would like to sell to Iran involves U.S. technology, for which the licenses will not be available.

This was part of the flaw of the deal, to entice Europe and the United States into economic relations with Iran that eventually would’ve worked against really holding Iran accountable for violations of the deal. It's reminiscent of the saying attributed to Vladimir Lenin, that the capitalist will sell us the rope with which we'll hang them. That's what's wrong with this deal. Why would any business, why would the shareholders of any business want to do business with the world's central banker of international terrorism?

RADDATZ: I want to turn to the German magazine, "Der Spiegel," they put a graphic up on the cover of their magazine, depicting Donald Trump essentially giving our allies the finger. And they wrote this in an editorial, "The West as we once knew it no longer exists. It is impossible to overstate what Trump has dismantled in the last 16 months. Europe has lost its protective power. It's lost its guarantor of joint values and it has lost the global political influence that it was only able to exert because the U.S. stood by its side." Are you concerned that the withdrawal will drive a wedge between the U.S. and its European allies?

BOLTON: Well, I think the comment you just read is silly. I don’t think it reflects the reality. I think the Europeans are disappointed that we got out of the deal. Perhaps they feel that way in large part because representatives of the Obama administration were working in the past several weeks to try and prevent the deal, for U.S. from abrogating the deal. They may have given the Europeans the false impression that they could prevail.

I think we'll work with all of the Europeans. As the president has discussed with President Macron of France, with Chancellor Merkel of Germany, with Prime Minister May of England, to move beyond the deal.

We all share the common objective of making sure Iran never gets nuclear weapons. We're worried about their terrible destabilizing and threatening military behavior across the region and their ballistic missile program. And we're going to work to stop that.

RADDATZ: And just finally, Mr. Ambassador, the American embassy in Jerusalem opening tomorrow. Will that make it harder or easier to get any sort of peace agreement?

BOLTON: I think it will make it easier. It's a recognition of reality. If you're not prepared to recognize that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that's where the American embassy should be, then you're operating on a completely different wavelength. I think recognizing reality always enhances the chances the for peace.

― May 13, 2018, in an interview with Martha Raddatz on ABC's "This Week" 

 

"Well, I don’t really have much to add to the President's speech. I think the decision is very clear. I think it's a firm statement of American resolve to prevent not only Iran from getting nuclear weapons, but a ballistic missile delivery capability. It limits its continuing support of terrorism and its causing instability and turmoil in the Middle East.

And I think the President also laid out what comes next. As he said at the end, he's prepared to look at discussions on a much broader resolution of the malign behavior that we see from Iran. And we've been in discussions already with our allies on that. We'll be continuing it beginning, literally, early tomorrow morning."

"Look, this deal was fundamentally flawed, as the President said. It does not do what it purports to do. It does not prevent Iran from developing deliverable nuclear weapons. It allows Iran to continue technologies like uranium enrichment, reprocessing of plutonium. It allows them -- even if they're in compliance with the deal -- to increase their research and development on the sophistication of their nuclear capabilities. And it simply has an utterly inadequate treatment of the military dimension of Iran's aspirations.

Contrary to basic arms control agreement practice, there was never a baseline declaration. In fact, Iran has consistently denied it ever had a military program. That's enshrined in Security Council Resolution 2231. And as we've seen from the data that we've collected before, that Israel discussed last week, this is a flat line. Nor is there an adequate inspection provision in the agreement itself, ever to allow us to have confidence that we've detected all of Iran's nuclear-related activities.

And then when you add in the fact that the theory behind the deal -- that if we could reach agreement to limit Iran's nuclear aspirations, it would change their behavior more globally -- has also proven completely false.

So creating this new reality, recognizing that Iran has used the course of the negotiations, the lengthy period leading up to the deal to increase the capability and sophistication both of its nuclear weapons program and its ballistic missile program, and has continued to do so since the deal in 2015 -- the only sure way to get on the path of stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons and delivery capabilities is to get out of the deal. And that's what the President has done."

"The lesson that America learned, painfully, a long time ago, but that Dean Acheson once said, is we only negotiate from positions of strength. It was a lesson that the last administration did not follow."

"Well, the decision that the President signed today puts sanctions back in place that existed at the time of the deal; it puts them in place immediately.

Now, what that means is that within the zone of economics covered by the sanctions, no new contracts are permitted. Treasury will be announcing, in the next few hours, what they call wind-down provisions that will deal with existing contracts. And there will be varying periods within these contracts to be wound down. Some will extend up to six months; some might be 90 days. There might be other provisions as well.

This contingency has been posted on the Treasury Department website since 2015 because of the potential for the use of the provisions of Resolution 2231, which we're not using because we're out of the deal. But in other words, the concept that there would be a wind-down period has been there for a long time. And that's basically the pattern we'll follow -- we are following. But the fact of the sanctions coming back in is effective right now. "

"We're out of the deal." 

"No, what the President said was, following his discussion with his counterparts in many European countries, looking at what President Macron said, what Chancellor Merkel said, what he said to Prime Minister May, is that one of the fundamental criticisms that the President and others have made to the deal is that it sought to address only a limited aspect of Iran's unacceptable behavior -- certainly a critical aspect -- but not taking into account the fact this is, and has been for many years, the central banker of international terrorism.

So that lifting the sanctions, as happened in 2015 as a result of the deal, helps fuel the activity that Iran is undertaking now in Syria. Its support for terrorist groups all around the region and the world, like Hezbollah and Hamas. And that to really deal with this threat and to try to bring peace and stability to the Middle East, and to relieve the world of the nuclear threat, you have to go after the whole thing. This is what he talked about with the European leaders, and we're going to try and pursue it."

"But the purpose of the wind-down provisions -- for example, in the case of oil purchases from Iran, if it's a long-term requirements contract, for example -- what we're saying is, that although the sanctions come back into effect immediately, precluding any new contracts, for those affected by our jurisdiction, they've got six months to phase it out. And if that turns out to be the period -- or 90 days or other periods -- and then the sanctions take effect on existing contracts. So that’s why it's called "wind-down." It's a way to give businesses a chance to get out."

"Look.  I think the President made it clear in his remarks today how deleterious Iran's conduct across the region has been on a whole range of fronts, and that one of the principal inadequacies of the nuclear deal was that it didn't address that other malign behavior.  So that's the purpose of what we're doing there."

"He's been saying it since the earliest days of the 2016 campaign that he thought this was one of the worst deals ever negotiated in American diplomatic history, of an assessment that I don't think he could be clearer on in repeated remarks since he first addressed the question.

With respect to the European and other allies, we've been in extensive consultation with them over the past several months. I think since I've been here, I've spent more time in consultation with them than probably almost anything else I've done, starting with the response to the Syrian chemical weapons attacks, but really continuing on the Iran question. And it's something the President views as extremely important.

And everybody involved in the national security sphere here will be engaged in talking to the Europeans and others who are affected by this about how we carry this forward. It's not just the Europeans. As the President said, we've got many people in the Middle East who are very concerned about the Iran nuclear weapons program. They'll be involved in the discussions, too."

"Well, he didn't get out of the deal until now because he gave repeated opportunities to try to fix the deal. But I think, as we've seen from the comments from various Iranian leaders over the past several weeks, the government of Iran had no interest in changing this deal. And why should they? It was an excellent deal.

I think the President wanted to let all the efforts go forward, and he did right up until just a few days before the May 12 deadline. And I think faced with the overwhelming evidence that the core flaws of the deal could not be fixed, he made the decision to proceed."

"We have announced a withdrawal from the deal. So we're out of the deal. The President signed a decision memorandum that instructs the departments and agencies to effectuate that. And part of that is reinstituting all of the nuclear-related sanctions that were waived by the Obama administration. So the sanctions are in effect as soon as they're promulgated.

What that means is, with respect to any new or prospective contract that's covered by it -- with firms covered by our jurisdiction, that they are forbidden. So, in other words, no new contracts in the prescribed areas.

For contracts that already exist, there is a wind-down period to allow an orderly termination of the contract, so that people who -- in good-faith reliance on the waiver of the sanctions -- have engaged in business are not totally surprised.

Now, as I say, there are going to be different wind-down periods depending on the nature of the commodities, but I don't really think anybody in the business world is surprised at this action."

"I think there are plenty of cases where we're simply incapable of saying whether they're in compliance or not. There are others where I think they've clearly been in violation.

For example, their production of heavy water has repeatedly exceeded the limits permissible under the JCPOA. They're almost in the heavy water production business. They sell excess to Oman. They've sold it to European countries. It’s a way of keeping the heavy water production facilities alive. They're warm. And that's part of the danger. And they have exceeded the limits.

I could go into others, as well."

"I think what you should look at is the overall pattern of Iranian behavior of pushing at the limits of the terms of the deal, and our basic uncertainty, whether we know everything. You cannot say that Iran is in compliance unless you are 100 percent certain that the IAEA and our intelligence are infallible."

"The verification and compliance aspects of any proliferation or arms control deal are absolutely essential. And here, in the Iran deal, as the President said, they were utterly inadequate."

"I think it's entirely possible that additional sanctions will follow as new information comes to light. And that's something that we should pursue vigorously because we want to put as much economic pressure on Iran as we can, and deny them the revenues that they would have gotten from the transactions we're now eliminating."

"Yeah, it's begun already in consultations with European and other allies before today's announcement, because we were trying to be fully transparent with them about our thinking, to make sure they understood that withdrawal was a live option under consideration. And I think the President has had some calls today; I'm sure he's going to have more in the coming day. I'm going to be discussing this tomorrow morning with my British, French, and German counterparts, so we're already underway."

― May 8, 2018, in a a press briefing

 

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley

"The President absolutely made the right decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. This was a terrible deal that only allowed Iran’s bad international conduct to worsen. We must never allow Iran to get nuclear weapons, and we must resist their support for terrorism that continues to threaten America and our allies."

― May 8, 2018, in a statement

 

Click here for the U.S. Treasury's statements on sanctions. 

Click here for Iran's response. 

Click here for world reactions. 

Click here for congressional remarks. 

Click here for Obama-era officials' reactions. 

Click here for analysis by foreign policy and non-proliferation experts. 

Click here for responses from around the Middle East. 

Click here for Iranian media coverage. 

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