President Trump on Iran

August 3, 2018

Donald Trump’s election produced dramatic change in U.S. policy starting in 2017. Since taking office, his administration has taken a tough stance on the Islamic Republic. In his first address to the U.N. General Assembly, he called Iran's government a “murderous regime” and “a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy.” In May 2018, Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal and the reimposition of sanctions on Iran. But in July 2018, the President said he would be willing to meet Iranian leaders without preconditions. The following are excerpted remarks by the president in reverse chronological order.


Trump portrait

Mr. President, welcome back to Meet the Press.

Thank you.


Let me start right in, what happened last night?

Well, you had a situation that was very bad because the night before, they shot down an unmanned drone. And the unmanned is a very big factor. The fact that there was not a person on it, a U.S. person on it, or anybody. And that had an impact on me. I said, "Well, you know, we got a little problem." And I think they did that on purpose because they understand that they will be hit very hard if that were a plane with a person in it. And I think they knew that there was nobody there. So we had a very, you know, modest but pretty, pretty heavy attack schedule.

And this is a pre-plan that you had, something that if they did something, you had something --

Yeah, we had it --

-- these were sort of ready-made plans --

Sure, we have many of them --

-- to use if necessary, right?

Oh, I have so many targets you wouldn't believe.


We have targets all over.

So did you green light something? Or had you said --

Nothing’s --

"If we do it, I'll do this." What was, what was the order you gave?

Nothing is green lighted until the very end because --


-- things change, right?

So you never gave a final order?

No, no, no, no. But we had something ready to go, subject to my approval. And they came in. And they came in about a half an hour before, they said, "So we're about ready to go." I said, "I want a better definition --"

Planes in the air? Were planes in the air?

No, no. "We're about ready to go." No, but they would have been pretty soon. And things would have happened to a point where you wouldn't turn back or couldn't turn back. So they came and they said, "Sir, we're ready to go. We'd like a decision." I said, "I want to know something before you go. How many people will be killed, in this case Iranians?" I said, "How many people are going to be killed?" "Sir, I'd like get back to you on that," great people these generals. They said, came back, said, "Sir, approximately 150." And I thought about it for a second and I said, "You know what? They shot down an unmanned drone, plane, whatever you want to call it. And here we are sitting with 150 dead people that would have taken place probably within a half an hour after I said go ahead." And I didn't like it. I didn't think it was, I didn’t think it was proportionate. Now that doesn't mean --

So what should the response be right now?

I think the response should be -- Well, first of all, as you know, we've done very massive sanctions. We're increasing the sanctions now. But the response is always going to be very strong. I built up a lot of capital. I've had a lot of people that aren't Trump fans saying, "I can't believe." You know, a lot of them said, "We're going to be in World War III the first week." Didn't work out that way. We're doing great in North Korea. We're doing great in a lot of different places. We knocked out the caliphate in Syria. We knocked out 100%. Remember I was going to leave it?

It’s not 100%. Not everybody says it’s 100%, even --

No, no, no, the caliphate.


No, the caliphate, which is the land.

The land.

The area --

Fair enough.

-- is 100%. You never knock these people out.

No, you won't.

These people are stone cold crazy. And they walk into a store and they'll be wired up for bombs and they'll blow -- it's a horrible thing. So I never say that. I don't want to do what other presidents have done or other people have done saying, "We won," because you don't win so conclusively. I would love to have the day where we can win. You know, I remember when I was young I'd go on airplane and I'd walk up, I'd buy a ticket, I'd go on a plane. Nobody thought about bombs and nobody thought about security. You'd walk in, you'd give the ticket to the person at the gate and you'd walk into a plane. Today it's like, a big deal. So what happened is I said, "I'm not going to do it. I'll save it. If they do something else, it'll be double."

You think they were trying to provoke you?

No, I don't think so. And I think it was very important that they, to them, don't forget, their economy --

They don’t -- they, they --you don't think they intended to get you to respond militarily?

No, their economy is shattered. Shattered.

So what's the message you think they’re sending?

Their inflation is through the roof. They’ve never had, the highest in the world right now. Worse than any place. They're, they’re living not well.

So put yourself in their shoes, what do you think the message they're trying to send you with this, with this drone?

I think they want to negotiate. And I think they want to make a deal. And my deal is nuclear. Look, they're not going to have a nuclear weapon. This isn't about the straits. Do you know that China gets 91% of its oil from the straits? We don't even need the straits. We have, we are now, because of -- since I came in, we're the number one energy producer in the world. Okay? Actually by far. And if I get the pipelines approved through the environmental process, which I will in Texas, we'll go up by another 25%. But we're way ahead of Russia, we're way ahead of Saudi Arabia. And I think that they want to negotiate. I don't think they like the position they're in. Their economy is, is absolutely broken.

So you sent a letter to the Ayatollah via Prime Minister Abe. And the Ayatollah seemed to say, "I'm not talking to you."

I didn't send a letter, no.

What was the --

I didn't, I didn’t send a letter. No, no --

Was it a verbal message? What did Prime Minister Abe carry on your behalf?

Prime Minister Abe's a great guy. He's a friend of mine. And he obviously is close to them. I think he was their, their largest buyer of oil from before.

But did he, did he deliver a message from you to them?

No. He wanted to do something.


According to Prime Minister Abe, they went to him, it's according to the prime minister, and they said, "What do we do with Trump? Can we make a deal? Is there something that can be done?" That's what Prime Minster Abe told me. I said, "Do you mind if I say that if I have to?" And he said, "Not particularly." So they came to Prime Minister Abe. He then called me. I said, "Send the following message: you can't have nuclear weapons. And other than that, we can sit down and make a deal. But you cannot have nuclear --"

No other --

"-- weapons."

-- conditions other than that?

You cannot have nuclear weapons. And they would have had them with President Obama. He gave them $150 billion --

What is your deal?

Remember this.

I understand. But what is your deal --

But, Chuck, you have to remember this.

-- going to look like with them?

Let me explain something. Number one, you have to look at the sites. Some of the most important sites we weren't even allowed to look at or inspect, okay? Number two, the term was not long enough.


There’s like a short number of years left. After a very small number of years, he’s talking about a country, after a very small number of years, they have a free pass to nuclear weapons. You can't do that. So I want to be able to inspect all sites. They cannot have ballistic missiles, which under the agreement, isn't even covered. And as you know, that agreement wasn't even approved by Congress. A lot of people don't know that. That was an agreement that he couldn't get through Congress. He was not authorized, really, to do that deal.

Congress did give him some authorization to do that. It gave him the power to cut the deal.

It wasn't ratified by Congress.

It wasn't a, it wasn’t a treaty.

It was very, very short of what it should have been. You know that.

Don’t you think though -- does it at all tell -- what does it tell you that the Iranians haven't violated the agreement yet? That they are trying hard not to violate this agreement?

Well, you see, I think they have violated the agreement because I think in the areas that we're not allowed to inspect they're doing things. And I think they have been for years.

Europeans don't think they're violating the agreement.

Well, I don't care about the Europeans. The Europeans are going out and making a lot of money. The Europeans are fine. But they're going out and making a lot of money. They’re selling, in France, they're selling cars to Iran. They're doing other things. And let me tell you, we're very good to Europe. We take care of them. NATO, we spend a tremendous amount, a disproportionate amount. On trade, the European Union's taken, really, they have really taken advantage of us for a long time. Just to finish, we have great relationships with Europe. I don't mind Europe getting in the middle. Europe wants to make a deal too. Europe would love to see a deal be made.

Are these going to be separate deals?

By the way, Europe --

Do you want to do a separate deal with Iran? Or do you want to get everybody involved in the same deal? Get the Russians, get the Chinese?

I don't care which, what kind of a deal. It can be separate or it could be total.

But it’s one-on-one talks, you and the Ayatollah?

All it is -- all it is --

Is it one-on-one talks, you and the Ayatollah, or you and the President?

It doesn't matter to me. Here's what I want, anything that gets you to the result. They cannot have a nuclear weapon. It's not about the straits. You know, a lot of people covered it incorrectly. They're never mentioned. They cannot have a nuclear weapon. They'd use it. And they're not going to have a nuclear weapon.

Did you send a message --

And it's not about the oil.

-- last night? You know, Reuters is reporting that you sent a message to the Iranians saying, "I don't want war. I want to talk."

Wrong. It’s wrong. I did not send that message. I did not send that message. I don't know who --


I don’t know who would have said that.

Send a message right now to the Ayatollah.

I mean it's fake news.

Then send a message right now to the Ayatollah.

Wouldn't be much different than that message.

Which is?

I'm not looking for war and if there is, it'll be obliteration like you've never seen before. But I'm not looking to do that. But you can't have a nuclear weapon. You want to talk? Good. Otherwise you can have a bad economy for the next --

No pre-conditions?

-- three years. Not as far as I'm concerned. No pre-conditions.

And you'll talk anywhere?

Here it is. Look, you can't have nuclear weapons. And if you want to talk about it, good. Otherwise you can live in a shattered economy for a long time to come.

If you, are you, do you feel like you were being pushed into military action against Iran by any of your advisors?

I have two groups of people. I have doves and I have hawks.

Yeah, you have some serious hawks.

I have some hawks. Yeah, John Bolton is absolutely a hawk. If it was up to him he'd take on the whole world at one time, okay? But that doesn't matter because I want both sides. You know, some people said, “Why did you put --” You know, I was against going into Iraq for years and years. And before it ever happened I was against going into Iraq. And some people said, "Oh I don't know." I was totally against and I was a private citizen. It never made sense to me. I was against going into the Middle East. Chuck, we've spent $7 trillion in the Middle East right now.

Why is this our problem? This is a proxy war. Iran and Saudi Arabia are in a fight to the death out there.

Yeah. You're right. You're right. And that's another thing I've done --

Candidate Trump, candidate Trump for years would have said, "Not our fight." Why are you involved?

Because of nuclear weapons. It has nothing to do with oil.

So the minute you get them to do nuclear weapons, you want out of the Middle East?

That's all I care. I don’t care about -- Well, we're going to protect Israel. But I have nothing to do, absolutely nothing -- and we're going to protect Saudi Arabia. Look, Saudi Arabia is buying $400 billion worth of things for us. That's a very good thing.

—June 23, 2019, in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press"

"You'll soon find out" if the U.S. is planning a strike on Iran in retaliation.

"I find it hard to believe it was intentional if you want to know the truth."

“It could have been someone loose and stupid that did it."

"I would imagine it was a general or somebody who made a mistake in shooting the drone down. Fortunately, that drone was unarmed. It was not -- there was no man in it, it was in international waters but we didn't have a man or woman in the drone, we had nobody in the drone. Would have made a big, big difference."

"I have a feeling -- and I may be wrong and I may be right but I'm right a lot -- that it was a mistake made by somebody that shouldn't have been doing what they do. I think they made a mistake and I'm not just talking about the country made a mistake somebody under the command of the country made a mistake."

—June 20, 2019, during a bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

"We’re pulling a lot of people back but this is a new wrinkle. This is a new fly in the ointment, what happened shooting down the drone. And this country will not stand for it, that I can tell you."

"Look, I said I want to get out of these endless wars. I campaigned on that. I want to get out."

—June 20, 2019, in a statement according to CNN

“I would certainly go over nuclear weapons,” the president said when asked what moves would lead him to consider going to war with Iran, “and I would keep the other a question mark.”

“So far, it’s (recent Iranian attacks) been very minor,”

“If you look at the rhetoric now compared to the days when they were signing that agreement [the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Trump withdrew from], where it was always ‘death to America, death to America, we will destroy America, we will kill America,’ I’m not hearing that too much anymore, and I don’t expect to.”

—June 17, 2019, in an interview with Time 


“Well, Iran did do it.”

”You know they did it because you saw the boat. I guess one of the mines didn’t explode and it’s got essentially Iran written all over it.”

“That was their boat, that was them. They didn’t want the evidence left behind.”

“They’re not going to be closing it (Straight of Hormuz). If it’s closed, it’s not going to be closed for long. And they know it.”

—June 14, 2019, in a telephone interview on Fox & Friends


“So Iran is a place that was extremely hostile when I first came into office. They were a terrorist nation number one in the world at that time and probably maybe are today.”

“There’s always a chance [of needing to take military action]. Do I want to? No. I’d rather not. But there’s always a chance.”

“Of course [I would be willing to speak with President Hassan Rouhani]. I've said that and he's said that. I know so much about nuclear weapons and I see the horrible damage done. I don't want that.”

—June 4, 2019, in an interview with Piers Morgan on ITV


“We have information [about Iran] that you don’t want to know about.” 

“They were very threatening and we have to have great security for this country and many other places.”

“I guess you could say that always, right? I don’t want to say no, but hopefully that [a military conflict with Iran] won’t happen. We have one of the most powerful ships in the world that is loaded up and we don’t want to do anything.”

“What they should be doing is calling me up, sitting down. We can make a deal, a fair deal, we just don’t want them to have nuclear weapons - not too much to ask. And we would help put them back to great shape.”

“They should call. If they do, we’re open to talk to them.”

—May 9, 2019, to the press


Statement from President Donald J. Trump Regarding Imposing Sanctions with Respect to the Iron, Steel, Aluminum, and Copper Sectors of Iran

One year ago, I dramatically strengthened our national security by ceasing America’s participation in the horrible, one-sided Iran nuclear deal. Today, I am signing an executive order to impose sanctions with respect to Iran’s iron, steel, aluminum, and copper sectors, the regime’s largest non-petroleum-related sources of export revenue. 

Under the Iran nuclear deal, Iran was free to engage in and sponsor terrorist networks, develop its missile force, foment regional conflicts, unjustly detain United States citizens, and brutalize its own people, all while maintaining a robust nuclear infrastructure—not to mention, as we now know, its extensive nuclear weapons archive.

A lot can change in a year when we make bold decisions to defend America’s national security. Because of our action, the Iranian regime is struggling to fund its campaign of violent terror, as its economy heads into an unprecedented depression, government revenue dries up, and inflation spirals out of control. We are successfully imposing the most powerful maximum pressure campaign ever witnessed, which today’s action will further strengthen.

Over the last month, the United States has taken several steps to increase the effectiveness of our campaign. We designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and increased the pressure on Iran ten-fold through full application of United States sanctions on Iranian oil exports. Today’s action targets Iran’s revenue from the export of industrial metals—10 percent of its export economy—and puts other nations on notice that allowing Iranian steel and other metals into your ports will no longer be tolerated.

Tehran can expect further actions unless it fundamentally alters its conduct. Since our exit from the Iran deal, which is broken beyond repair, the United States has put forward 12 conditions that offer the basis of a comprehensive agreement with Iran. I look forward to someday meeting with the leaders of Iran in order to work out an agreement and, very importantly, taking steps to give Iran the future it deserves.

—May 8, 2019


“I’ll tell you what — they’re not the same country [Iran] they were when I took office, I will tell you that.  They’re rioting in their streets.  Their money has collapsed.  Their lives are a lot different.  And they’re not looking so much for the Mediterranean.   When I took office, they were looking for the Mediterranean.  They were going to take over everything.  Now they want to survive.  Whole different deal, folks.  It’s a whole different deal.

“No terrorist group other than al Qaeda has more American blood on its hands.”

“That is one reason why last year I withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear disaster.  On November 5th, all U.S. sanctions against Iran lifted by the nuclear deal will be back in full force — every sanction that we had on there originally, which would have — if they would have just left it a little bit longer, it would have been so much easier than what we’ve been through over the last number of years.  All they had to do was leave it the way it was.  It was eating them away.  But we’ve started it all over again, and it will be just as good.  Wasted time — and lives, unfortunately.

“And they will be followed up with even more sanctions to address the full range of Iran’s malign conduct.  We will not allow the world’s leading sponsor of terror to develop the world’s deadliest weapons.  Will not happen.”

—Oct. 26, 2018, at an event commemorating the 35th anniversary of the Marine Barracks bombing in Beirut, Lebanon


“The Iran deal, which, by the way, has had a major impact on Iran. When I came into Iran -- when I came into here, it was a question of when would they take over the Middle East. Now it’s a question of will they survive. It’s a big difference in one and a half years.”

—Aug. 30, 2018, in an interview with Bloomberg News



Trump portraitThe United States is fully committed to enforcing all of our sanctions, and we will work closely with nations conducting business with Iran to ensure complete compliance. Individuals or entities that fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences.

I am pleased that many international firms have already announced their intent to leave the Iranian market, and several countries have indicated that they will reduce or end imports of Iranian crude oil. We urge all nations to take such steps to make clear that the Iranian regime faces a choice: either change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation. ...

As we continue applying maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime, I remain open to reaching a more comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of the regime’s malign activities, including its ballistic missile program and its support for terrorism. The United States welcomes the partnership of likeminded nations in these efforts.

The United States continues to stand with the long-suffering Iranian people, who are the rightful heirs to Iran’s rich heritage and the real victims of the regime’s policies. We look forward to the day when the people of Iran, and all people across the region, can prosper together in safety and peace.

—Aug. 6, 2018, in a statement



TrumpQ: Thank you, Mr. President.  You spoke a bit about Iran today and your discussions, and I’m wondering if you could tell us what you think Iran needs to do to reduce some of the tensions. And you’ve met with the leaders of North Korea and Russia.  Are you prepared also — are you willing to meet with President Rouhani?  And under what conditions?  And have there been any preliminary discussions about something like that?

Trump: I’ll meet with anybody.  I believe in meeting.  The Prime Minister said it better than anybody can say it: Speaking to other people, especially when you’re talking about potentials of war and death and famine and lots of other things — you meet.  There’s nothing wrong with meeting.  We met, as you know, with Chairman Kim.  And it — you haven’t had a missile fired off in nine months.  We got our prisoners back.  So many things have happened.  So positive.

But meeting with people — I had a great meeting, in my opinion.  Of course, the fake news didn’t cover it that way.  But I had a great meeting with President Putin of Russia.  I think it was a great meeting.  In terms of the future, in terms of safety and economic development and protecting Israel and protecting everybody, I thought it was a great meeting. ...

So I believe in meeting.  I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet.  I don’t know that they’re ready yet.  They’re having a hard time right now.

But I ended the Iran deal; it was a ridiculous deal.  I do believe that they will probably end up wanting to meet, and I’m ready to meet any time they want to.  And I don’t do that from strength or from weakness.  I think it’s an appropriate thing to do.  If we could work something out that’s meaningful, not the waste of paper that the other deal was, I would certainly be willing to meet.

Q: Do you have preconditions for that meeting?

Trump: No preconditions.  No.  If they want to meet, I’ll meet.  Anytime they want.  Anytime they want.  It’s good for the country, good for them, good for us, and good for the world.  No preconditions.  If they want to meet, I’ll meet.

—July 30, 2018, in a joint press conference with Italy’s prime minister



And the Iran deal, I have to be honest, I did it because nuclear is always number one to me. Nuclear is number one.

But on the Iran deal, I think Iran is a different country now than it was three or four months ago. I don’t think they’re looking so much to the Mediterranean. I don’t think they’re looking so much at Syria, like they were, with total confidence. I don’t think they’re so confident right now.

But I hope — with that being said, I hope that, at the appropriate time, after these sanctions kick in — and they are brutal, what we’ve put on Iran — I hope that they’re going to come back and negotiate a real deal, because I’d love to be able to do that. But right now, it’s too soon for that.

—June 12, 2018, during a press conference in Singapore


By the way, with Iran, we're adding tremendously powerful sanctions. They understand that very well. I think Iran already is not the same country, if you look -- I don’t think they're looking so much to the Mediterranean like they were two months ago. So it's a big difference. It was, number one, nuclear, but also, out of it, you also get the side benefit that Iran is a different place. And we'll see what happens. And maybe, ultimately, something will happen with Iran.

—June 7, 2018, before a meeting with the Japanese prime minister


You have to be able to walk away. If you’re not going to be able to walk away — we didn’t walk away from the horrible Iran deal that was signed. And if you look at what’s happened since I signed that deal, Iran — and in all fairness, I say it with great respect for the people of Iran — but Iran is acting a lot differently. They’re no longer looking so much to the Mediterranean. They’re no longer looking so much to what’s going on in Syria, what’s going on in Yemen and lots of other places. They’re a much different country over the last three months.

And again, I say that with hope that maybe something can happen. But when you mention sanctions, we’re putting sanctions on Iran, the likes of which nobody has ever seen before, including, frankly, North Korea. That would have been the next phase, if we did it or find it necessary to do.

But nuclear to me is always first. And we’re going to be fine, with respect to Iran. But we also, Saagar, got something out of it that’s very important. A lot of the people that write about this, some of whom I have respect for, but they haven’t picked it up: Iran is not the same country that it was a few months ago. They’re a much, much different group of leaders. And I hope at some point they’ll come to us and we’ll sit down, and we’ll make a deal that’s good for them, and good for us, and good for everybody. And it will be great for Iran. I expect it to be — I want it to be great for Iran.

But if they would have walked — our side — from some of the horrible provisions that you know as well as I do, and probably everybody sitting here knows, we could have had a great deal. Nothing wrong with a deal, but there’s something wrong with that deal. We had a great opportunity to make a phenomenal deal.

—June 7, 2018, in a joint press conference with the Japanese prime minister


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?

Trump: 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


Trump:  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 


Q: I want to ask you about Iran. The Israeli Prime Minister just gave a speech very critical of their nuclear program. I wanted to ask if you have made up your mind to pull out of that deal, and if you do pull out of that deal, are you worried that sends the wrong message to North Korea as you seek to enter nuclear talks with Kim Jong Un?

Trump: “No, I think it sends the right message. You know in seven years that deal will have expired and Iran is free to go ahead and create nuclear weapons. That’s not acceptable. Seven years is tomorrow. That’s not acceptable. So no, if anything it’s proven right. What Israel has done today with the news conference, and Prime Minister Netanyahu just gave a very – I don’t know if everybody got to see it but I got to see a little bit of it – and that just is not an acceptable situation. And I’ve been saying that it’s happening. They are not sitting back idly. They’re setting off missiles, which they say are for television purposes. I don’t think so. So we’ll see what happens. I’m not telling you what I’m doing, but a lot of people think they know. And on or before the 12th we’ll make a decision.

That doesn’t mean we won’t negotiate a real agreement. You know this is an agreement that wasn’t approved by too many people. And it’s a horrible agreement for the United States. Including the fact, Mr. President, that we gave Iran $150 billion and $1.8 billion in cash. Nigeria would like some of that. $1.8 billion in cash and $150 billion. You know what we got? We got nothing. We got nothing. So that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t negotiate a new agreement. We’ll see what happens. But I think if anything what’s happening today and what’s happened over the last little while and what we’ve learned has really shown that I’ve been 100 percent right.”

April 30, 2018, during a press conference with Nigeria’s president


Q: Mr. President, what would you like to say about Iran during the talks with the French president?

Trump: Well we’ll be talking about Iran, and we’ll be talking about many things, terrorism, generally. But we will be discussing the Iran deal. I know the president wants to speak to me about that. …

Q: Are you willing to consider staying in the Iran deal?

Trump: We’re going to be talking about it, and we’ll see. I mean, people know my views on the Iran deal. It was a terrible deal. It should have never ever been made. We could have made a good deal or a reasonable deal. The Iran deal is a terrible deal. We paid $150 billion. We gave $1.8 billion in cash. That’s actual cash, barrels of cash. It’s insane. It’s ridiculous. It should have never been made, but we will be talking about.

Q (to Macron): What would you tell the president about the Iran nuclear deal?

Macron: The Iran deal is an important issue. We will discuss about that. But we have to take it as a part of the broader picture, which is security in the overall region. And we have the Syrian situation, we have upcoming election in Iraq, and we have the stability to preserve for our allies in region.  And what we want to do is to contain the Iranian presence in the region, and JCPOA is part of this broader picture.

Trump: It just seems that no matter where you go, especially in the Middle East, Iran is behind it. Wherever there’s trouble – Yemen, Syria. No matter where you have it, Iran is behind it. Now, unfortunately, Russia is getting more and more involved, but Iran seems to be behind everything where there’s a problem. And you just have to take a look at what’s happening. You look at the fighters, Iran is always there. And we’re not going to allow certain things to happen that are happening. And the Iran deal is a disaster. They’re testing missiles. What is that all about? You look at the ballistic missiles that they’re going and testing. What kind of a deal is it where you’re allowed to test missiles all over the place? What kind of a deal is it when you don’t talk about Yemen, and you don’t talk about all of the other problems we have with respect to Iran, especially look at what they’re doing in Iraq. You just take a look at what’s happening in virtually any place in the Middle East, Iran is behind it. So what kind of a deal is this, where it wasn’t even discussed? And I know John Kerry made the statement that he didn’t want to discuss other things while he was making the deal, despite all of the money that we gave them. He didn’t want to discuss it because it was too complicated. That’s not the way to do it, because it was too complicated. So, we made this terrible deal, but we’ll be discussing it.

Q: The Iranians said they’ll restart their nuclear problem if the deal is …

Trump: We’ll find out. You’ll find out about that. It won’t be so easy for them to restart. They’re not going to be restarting anything. If they restart it, they’re gonna have big problems, bigger than they’ve ever had before. And you can mark it down. They restart their nuclear program, they will have bigger problems than they have ever had before.

April 24, 2018, to reporters in the Oval Office


I think we’ve really had some substantive talks on Iran, maybe more than anything else, and we’re looking forward to doing something.  But it has to be done, and it has to be done strongly.  And they’ve very much been butchers and we can’t allow that to happen.

April 24, 2018, before an expanded bilateral meeting with French President Macron


Trump: Emmanuel [Macron] and myself have discussed the fact that we don't want to give Iran open season to the Mediterranean, especially since we really control it. To a large extent, we really have controlled it and we've set control on it. So we'll see what happens.

But we're going to be coming home relatively soon. We finished, at least, almost our work with respect to ISIS in Syria, ISIS in Iraq, and we have done a job that nobody has been able to do.

But with that being said, I do want to come home. But I want to come home also with having accomplished what we have to accomplish. So we are discussing Syria as part of an overall deal. When they made the Iran deal, what they should have done is included Syria. When I say "should have" -- before giving them, Iran, $150 billion and $1.8 billion in cash -- $1.8 million in cash. You think about this. Before giving this kind of tremendous money, okay -- $150 billion and $1.8 billion in cash -- in barrels, I hear, it was taken out, and in boxes it was taken out -- cash -- they should have made a deal that covered Yemen, that covered Syria, that covered other parts of the Middle East where Iraq is -- where Iran is involved. They didn't do that. ...

And I think we will have a great shot at doing a much bigger maybe deal, maybe not deal. We're going to find out, but we'll know fairly soon. ...

The United States is embarrassingly into the Middle East. As of a few months ago, as you've heard me say before -- and I don't take responsibility, but I would be very embarrassed if I had to -- $7 trillion. And when we want to build, Mr. President, our infrastructure, everybody says, "Oh, we want to be careful with our money." When we want to fix a highway or we want to build schools and lots of other things -- tunnels, bridges -- they say, "Oh, let's be careful with our money." And yet, we have spent $7 trillion in the Middle East, and we've gotten nothing for it. Nothing. Less than nothing, as far as I'm concerned. That's over an 18-year period.

The countries that are there that you all know very well are immensely wealthy; they're going to have to pay for this. And I think the President and I agree very much on that. And they will pay for it. They will pay for it. We've spoken to them. They will pay for it. The United States will not continue to pay. And they will also put soldiers on the ground, which they're not doing. And we will, in fact, bring lots of people home. We will have a strong blockage to the Mediterranean, which to me is very important -- because if we don't, you have Iran going right to the Mediterranean. Not going to have that.

But there is a chance -- and nobody knows what I'm going to do on the 12th, although, Mr. President, you have a pretty good idea -- but we'll see. But we'll see also, if I do what some people expect, whether or not it will be possible to do a new deal with solid foundations. Because this a deal with decayed foundations. It's a bad deal. It's a bad structure. It's falling down. Should have never, ever been made. I blame Congress. I blame a lot of people for it. But it should have never been made, and we're going to see what happens on the 12th.

But I will say, if Iran threatens us in any way, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid. Okay?

April 24, 2018, during a joint press conference with French President Macron


I wish a beautiful and blessed Nowruz to the millions of people around the world who are celebrating the arrival of spring.

The history of Nowruz is rooted in Iran, where for millennia a proud nation has overcome great challenges by the strength of its culture and the resilience of its people. Today, the Iranian people face another challenge: rulers who serve themselves instead of serving the people.

Twenty-five centuries ago, Darius the Great asked God to protect Iran from three dangers: hostile armies, drought, and falsehood. Today, the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) represents all three.

First, the IRGC is not Iranian in name or deed. It is a hostile army that brutalizes and steals from the Iranian people to fund terrorism abroad. Since 2012, the IRGC has spent more than $16 billion of Iran’s wealth to prop up the Assad regime and support militants and terrorists in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Meanwhile, the average Iranian family is 15 percent poorer today than it was 10 years ago, and nearly 30 percent of Iran’s youth are unemployed. Ordinary Iranians struggle economically and find it difficult to celebrate holidays like Nowruz.

Second, the IRGC’s corruption and mismanagement have exacerbated the effects of an on-going drought and created an ecological crisis. Unregulated dam construction by its companies like Khatam al-Anbia has dried rivers and lakes and helped create unprecedented dust storms that threaten Iranians’ jobs and lives.

Third, deceit has become official state policy. The IRGC employs propaganda and censorship to hide the fact that the Iranian regime plunders Iran’s wealth and abuses its people. To hide the truth, Iran’s rulers suppress their own citizens’ rights to free assembly, access to information, and equal opportunity.

Despite the oppression they face, Iranians are fighting to reclaim their rights. They long for a springtime of hope, and the United States stands with the Iranian people in their aspirations to connect to the wider world and have a responsible and accountable government that truly serves their nation’s interests.

For this reason, the Department of Treasury today is issuing guidance reaffirming America’s support for the free flow of information to the citizens of Iran. We also pledge to continue holding the IRGC and the Iranian regime accountable for conducting cyber-attacks abroad and for suppressing Iranian citizens who are protesting the oppression of their government at home.

On behalf of the American people, may light prevail over darkness in this New Year, and may the Iranian people soon enjoy a new day of peace, prosperity, and joy.

Nowruz Pirouz (Happy Nowruz).

March 19, 2018, in a statement


March 12, 2018

Text of a Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, within 90 days before the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent to the Federal Register for publication the enclosed notice stating that the national emergency with respect to Iran that was declared on March 15, 1995, is to continue in effect beyond March 15, 2018.

On January 16, 2016, Implementation Day under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the United States lifted nuclear-related sanctions on Iran consistent with its commitments under the JCPOA, through termination of a number of Executive Orders that had been issued pursuant to this national emergency and other actions. Although these measures significantly changed our sanctions posture, comprehensive non-nuclear-related sanctions with respect to Iran remain in place.

Actions and policies of the Government of Iran, including its development of ballistic missiles, support for international terrorism, and human rights abuses continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.

For these reasons, I have determined it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared with respect to Iran and to maintain in force comprehensive sanctions against Iran to respond to this threat.




When the people of Iran rose up against the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I did not stay silent. America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom.

I am asking the Congress to address the fundamental flaws in the terrible Iran nuclear deal.

Jan. 30, 2018, in his State of the Union address


The Iranian regime is the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. It enables Hezbollah, Hamas, and many other terrorists to sow chaos and kill innocent people. It has funded, armed, and trained more than 100,000 militants to spread destruction across the Middle East. It props up the murderous regime of Bashar al Assad, and has helped him slaughter his own people. The regime’s destructive missiles threaten neighboring countries and international shipping. Within Iran, the Supreme Leader and his Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps use mass arrests and torture to oppress and silence Iran’s people. Iran’s ruling elite has let their citizens go hungry while enriching themselves by stealing Iran’s national wealth.

Last October, I outlined to the American people—and to the world—my strategy for confronting these and other destructive activities. We are countering Iranian proxy wars in Yemen and Syria. We are cutting off the regime’s money flows to terrorists. We have sanctioned nearly 100 individuals and entities involved with the Iranian regime’s ballistic missile program and its other illicit activities. Today, I am adding 14 more to the sanctions list. We are also supporting the brave Iranian citizens who are demanding change from a corrupt regime that wastes the Iranian people’s money on weapons systems at home and terrorism abroad. And crucially, we are calling on all nations to lend similar support to the Iranian people, who are suffering under a regime that is stifling basic freedoms and denying its citizens the opportunity to build better lives for their families—an opportunity that is every human being’s God-given right.

All this stands in stark contrast to the policy and actions of the previous administration. President Obama failed to act as the Iranian people took to the streets in 2009. He turned a blind eye as Iran built and tested dangerous missiles and exported terror. He curried favor with the Iranian regime in order to push through the disastrously flawed Iran nuclear deal.

I have been very clear about my opinion of that deal. It gave Iran far too much in exchange for far too little. The enormous financial windfall the Iranian regime received because of the deal—access to more than $100 billion, including $1.8 billion in cash—has not been used to better the lives of the Iranian people. Instead, it has served as a slush fund for weapons, terror, and oppression, and to further line the pockets of corrupt regime leaders. The Iranian people know this, which is one reason why so many have taken to the streets to express their outrage.

Despite my strong inclination, I have not yet withdrawn the United States from the Iran nuclear deal. Instead, I have outlined two possible paths forward: either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw.

I am open to working with Congress on bipartisan legislation regarding Iran. But any bill I sign must include four critical components.

First, it must demand that Iran allow immediate inspections at all sites requested by international inspectors.

Second, it must ensure that Iran never even comes close to possessing a nuclear weapon.

Third, unlike the nuclear deal, these provisions must have no expiration date. My policy is to deny Iran all paths to a nuclear weapon—not just for ten years, but forever.

If Iran does not comply with any of these provisions, American nuclear sanctions would automatically resume.

Fourth, the legislation must explicitly state in United States law—for the first time—that long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs are inseparable, and that Iran’s development and testing of missiles should be subject to severe sanctions.

In 2015, the Obama Administration foolishly traded away strong multilateral sanctions to get its weak nuclear deal. By contrast, my Administration has engaged with key European allies in seeking to secure a new supplemental agreement that would impose new multilateral sanctions if Iran develops or tests long-range missiles, thwarts inspections, or makes progress toward a nuclear weapon—requirements that should have been in the nuclear deal in the first place. And, like the bill I expect from Congress, these provisions of a supplemental agreement must never expire.

I also call on all our allies to take stronger steps with us to confront Iran’s other malign activities. Among other actions, our allies should cut off funding to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, its militant proxies, and anyone else who contributes to Iran’s support for terrorism. They should designate Hezbollah—in its entirety—as a terrorist organization. They should join us in constraining Iran’s missile development and stopping its proliferation of missiles, especially to Yemen. They should join us in countering Iran’s cyber threats. They should help us deter Iran’s aggression against international shipping. They should pressure the Iranian regime to stop violating its citizens’ rights. And they should not do business with groups that enrich Iran’s dictatorship or fund the Revolutionary Guard and its terrorist proxies.

Today, I am waiving the application of certain nuclear sanctions, but only in order to secure our European allies’ agreement to fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal. This is a last chance. In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately.

No one should doubt my word. I said I would not certify the nuclear deal—and I did not. I will also follow through on this pledge. I hereby call on key European countries to join with the United States in fixing significant flaws in the deal, countering Iranian aggression, and supporting the Iranian people. If other nations fail to act during this time, I will terminate our deal with Iran. Those who, for whatever reason, choose not to work with us will be siding with the Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions, and against the people of Iran and the peaceful nations of the world.

Jan. 12, 2018, in a statement on the nuclear deal




Our leaders engaged in nation-building abroad, while they failed to build up and replenish our nation at home. They undercut and shortchanged our men and women in uniform with inadequate resources, unstable funding, and unclear missions. They failed to insist that our often very wealthy allies pay their fair share for defense, putting a massive and unfair burden on the U.S. taxpayer and our great U.S. military.

They neglected a nuclear menace in North Korea; made a disastrous, weak, and incomprehensibly bad deal with Iran; and allowed terrorists such as ISIS to gain control of vast parts of territory all across the Middle East.”

To counter Iran and block its path to a nuclear weapon, I sanctioned the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for its support of terrorism, and I declined to certify the Iran Deal to Congress.

―Dec. 18, 2018, in remarks on the National Security Strategy


Thank you very much. My fellow Americans: As President of the United States, my highest obligation is to ensure the safety and security of the American people.

History has shown that the longer we ignore a threat, the more dangerous that threat becomes. For this reason, upon taking office, I've ordered a complete strategic review of our policy toward the rogue regime in Iran. That review is now complete.

Today, I am announcing our strategy, along with several major steps we are taking to confront the Iranian regime’s hostile actions and to ensure that Iran never, and I mean never, acquires a nuclear weapon.

Our policy is based on a clear-eyed assessment of the Iranian dictatorship, its sponsorship of terrorism, and its continuing aggression in the Middle East and all around the world.

Iran is under the control of a fanatical regime that seized power in 1979 and forced a proud people to submit to its extremist rule. This radical regime has raided the wealth of one of the world’s oldest and most vibrant nations, and spread death, destruction, and chaos all around the globe.

"Iran is under the control of a fanatical regime that seized power in 1979 and forced a proud people to submit to its extremist rule."

Beginning in 1979, agents of the Iranian regime illegally seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held more than 60 Americans hostage during the 444 days of the crisis. The Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah twice bombed our embassy in Lebanon -- once in 1983 and again in 1984. Another Iranian-supported bombing killed 241 Americans -- service members they were, in their barracks in Beirut in 1983.

In 1996, the regime directed another bombing of American military housing in Saudi Arabia, murdering 19 Americans in cold blood.

Iranian proxies provided training to operatives who were later involved in al Qaeda’s bombing of the American embassies in Kenya, Tanzania, and two years later, killing 224 people, and wounding more than 4,000 others.

The regime harbored high-level terrorists in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, including Osama bin Laden’s son. In Iraq and Afghanistan, groups supported by Iran have killed hundreds of American military personnel.

The Iranian dictatorship’s aggression continues to this day. The regime remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and provides assistance to al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist networks. It develops, deploys, and proliferates missiles that threaten American troops and our allies. It harasses American ships and threatens freedom of navigation in the Arabian Gulf and in the Red Sea. It imprisons Americans on false charges. And it launches cyberattacks against our critical infrastructure, financial system, and military.

The United States is far from the only target of the Iranian dictatorship’s long campaign of bloodshed. The regime violently suppresses its own citizens; it shot unarmed student protestors in the street during the Green Revolution.

This regime has fueled sectarian violence in Iraq, and vicious civil wars in Yemen and Syria. In Syria, the Iranian regime has supported the atrocities of Bashar al-Assad’s regime and condoned Assad’s use of chemical weapons against helpless civilians, including many, many children.

Given the regime’s murderous past and present, we should not take lightly its sinister vision for the future. The regime’s two favorite chants are “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”

Realizing the gravity of the situation, the United States and the United Nations Security Council sought, over many years, to stop Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons with a wide array of strong economic sanctions.

But the previous administration lifted these sanctions, just before what would have been the total collapse of the Iranian regime, through the deeply controversial 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. This deal is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

As I have said many times, the Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. The same mindset that produced this deal is responsible for years of terrible trade deals that have sacrificed so many millions of jobs in our country to the benefit of other countries. We need negotiators who will much more strongly represent America’s interest.

"As I have said many times, the Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered to."

The nuclear deal threw Iran’s dictatorship a political and economic lifeline, providing urgently needed relief from the intense domestic pressure the sanctions had created. It also gave the regime an immediate financial boost and over $100 billion dollars its government could use to fund terrorism.

The regime also received a massive cash settlement of $1.7 billion from the United States, a large portion of which was physically loaded onto an airplane and flown into Iran. Just imagine the sight of those huge piles of money being hauled off by the Iranians waiting at the airport for the cash. I wonder where all that money went.

Worst of all, the deal allows Iran to continue developing certain elements of its nuclear program. And importantly, in just a few years, as key restrictions disappear, Iran can sprint towards a rapid nuclear weapons breakout. In other words, we got weak inspections in exchange for no more than a purely short-term and temporary delay in Iran’s path to nuclear weapons.

What is the purpose of a deal that, at best, only delays Iran’s nuclear capability for a short period of time? This, as President of the United States, is unacceptable. In other countries, they think in terms of 100-year intervals, not just a few years at a time.

The saddest part of the deal for the United States is that all of the money was paid up front, which is unheard of, rather than at the end of the deal when they have shown they’ve played by the rules. But what’s done is done, and that's why we are where we are.

The Iranian regime has committed multiple violations of the agreement. For example, on two separate occasions, they have exceeded the limit of 130 metric tons of heavy water. Until recently, the Iranian regime has also failed to meet our expectations in its operation of advanced centrifuges.

The Iranian regime has also intimidated international inspectors into not using the full inspection authorities that the agreement calls for.

Iranian officials and military leaders have repeatedly claimed they will not allow inspectors onto military sites, even though the international community suspects some of those sites were part of Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program.

There are also many people who believe that Iran is dealing with North Korea. I am going to instruct our intelligence agencies to do a thorough analysis and report back their findings beyond what they have already reviewed.

By its own terms, the Iran Deal was supposed to contribute to “regional and international peace and security.” And yet, while the United States adheres to our commitment under the deal, the Iranian regime continues to fuel conflict, terror, and turmoil throughout the Middle East and beyond. Importantly, Iran is not living up to the spirit of the deal.

So today, in recognition of the increasing menace posed by Iran, and after extensive consultations with our allies, I am announcing a new strategy to address the full range of Iran’s destructive actions.

First, we will work with our allies to counter the regime’s destabilizing activity and support for terrorist proxies in the region.

Second, we will place additional sanctions on the regime to block their financing of terror.

Third, we will address the regime’s proliferation of missiles and weapons that threaten its neighbors, global trade, and freedom of navigation.

And finally, we will deny the regime all paths to a nuclear weapon.

Today, I am also announcing several major steps my administration is taking in pursuit of this strategy.

The execution of our strategy begins with the long-overdue step of imposing tough sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Revolutionary Guard is the Iranian Supreme Leader’s corrupt personal terror force and militia. It has hijacked large portions of Iran’s economy and seized massive religious endowments to fund war and terror abroad. This includes arming the Syrian dictator, supplying proxies and partners with missiles and weapons to attack civilians in the region, and even plotting to bomb a popular restaurant right here in Washington, D.C.

I am authorizing the Treasury Department to further sanction the entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for its support for terrorism and to apply sanctions to its officials, agents, and affiliates. I urge our allies to join us in taking strong actions to curb Iran's continued dangerous and destabilizing behavior, including thorough sanctions outside the Iran Deal that target the regime's ballistic missile program, in support for terrorism, and all of its destructive activities, of which there are many.

Finally, on the grave matter of Iran’s nuclear program: Since the signing of the nuclear agreement, the regime's dangerous aggression has only escalated. At the same time, it has received massive sanctions relief while continuing to develop its missiles program. Iran has also entered into lucrative business contracts with other parties to the agreement.

When the agreement was finalized in 2015, Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act to ensure that Congress’s voice would be heard on the deal. Among other conditions, this law requires the President, or his designee, to certify that the suspension of sanctions under the deal is “appropriate and proportionate” to measure -- and other measures taken by Iran to terminate its illicit nuclear program. Based on the factual record I have put forward, I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification.

We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.

"We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout."

That is why I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons. These include the deal’s sunset clauses that, in just a few years, will eliminate key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.

The flaws in the deal also include insufficient enforcement and near total silence on Iran’s missile programs. Congress has already begun the work to address these problems. Key House and Senate leaders are drafting legislation that would amend the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act to strengthen enforcement, prevent Iran from developing an inter- -- this is so totally important -- an intercontinental ballistic missile, and make all restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activity permanent under U.S. law. So important. I support these initiatives.

However, in the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated. It is under continuous review, and our participation can be cancelled by me, as President, at any time.

As we have seen in North Korea, the longer we ignore a threat, the worse that threat becomes. It is why we are determined that the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism will never obtain nuclear weapons.

In this effort, we stand in total solidarity with the Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims: its own people. The citizens of Iran have paid a heavy price for the violence and extremism of their leaders. The Iranian people long to -- and they just are longing, to reclaim their country’s proud history, its culture, its civilization, its cooperation with its neighbors.

We hope that these new measures directed at the Iranian dictatorship will compel the government to reevaluate its pursuit of terror at the expense of its people.

We hope that our actions today will help bring about a future of peace, stability, and prosperity in the Middle East –- a future where sovereign nations respect each other and their own citizens.

We pray for a future where young children -- American and Iranian, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish -- can grow up in a world free from violence, hatred, and terror.

And, until that blessed day comes, we will do what we must to keep America safe.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you.


Post-Speech Remarks

Q: Mr. President, on the Iranian nuclear deal, why not just scrap it altogether now? You threatened to do so. Why not just end it now, withdraw?

Trump:  Because we'll see what happens over the next short period of time. And I can do that instantaneously. I like a two-step process much better.

Q: Mr. President, you had said you were going to rip the Iran deal up, and you called it the worst ever.

Trump: Well, I may do that. I may do that. The deal is terrible. So what we've done is, through the certification process, we'll have Congress take a look at it, and I may very well do that. But I like a two-step process much better.

Q: How long will you give Rex Tillerson to get this new deal? And are strikes on Iran still a possibility if you don’t get what you want?

Trump:  We will see what happens with Iran. We're very unhappy with Iran. They have not treated us with the kind of respect that they should be treating. They should have thanked Barack Obama for making that deal. They were gone. They were economically gone. He infused $100 [billion] to $150 billion into their economy. He gave them $1.7 billion in cash. And they should be, "Thank you, President Obama." They didn’t say that.

Q: Have you spoken with Theresa May or Emmanuel Macron about the Iranian Deal?

Trump:  Yes.

Q: What did they say to you? What did you say to them?

Trump: They would love me to stay in, only for one reason: Look at the kind of money that's being sent. You know, Iran is spending money in various countries.

And I've always said it, and I say to them: Don't do anything. Don't worry about it. Take all the money you can get. They're all friends of mine.

Actually, Emmanuel called up, and he talked to me. And I said, look, Emmanuel, they just gave Renault a lot of money. Take their money; enjoy yourselves. But we'll see what happens.

Iran has to behave much differently.

—Oct. 13, 2017, in remarks to the press


The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. The longest-suffering victims of Iran's leaders are, in fact, its own people.

Rather than use its resources to improve Iranian lives, its oil profits go to fund Hezbollah and other terrorists that kill innocent Muslims and attack their peaceful Arab and Israeli neighbors. This wealth, which rightly belongs to Iran's people, also goes to shore up Bashar al-Assad's dictatorship, fuel Yemen's civil war, and undermine peace throughout the entire Middle East.

We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program. (Applause.) The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it -- believe me.

It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran's government end its pursuit of death and destruction. It is time for the regime to free all Americans and citizens of other nations that they have unjustly detained. And above all, Iran's government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people, and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors.

Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the Iranian people will face a choice. Will they continue down the path of poverty, bloodshed, and terror? Or will the Iranian people return to the nation's proud roots as a center of civilization, culture, and wealth where their people can be happy and prosperous once again?

The Iranian regime's support for terror is in stark contrast to the recent commitments of many of its neighbors to fight terrorism and halt its financing.

In Saudi Arabia early last year, I was greatly honored to address the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations. We agreed that all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and the Islamist extremism that inspires them.

We will stop radical Islamic terrorism because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation, and indeed to tear up the entire world.

—Sept. 19, 2017, in his address to the U.N. General Assembly


Israelis have experienced firsthand the hatred and terror of radical violence.  Israelis are murdered by terrorists wielding knives and bombs.  Hamas and Hezbollah launch rockets into Israeli communities where schoolchildren have to be trained to hear the sirens and run to the bomb shelters -- with fear, but with speed.  ISIS targets Jewish neighborhoods, synagogues, and storefronts.  And Iran’s leaders routinely call for Israel’s destruction.  Not with Donald J. Trump, believe me.

But even as we work toward peace, we will build strength to defend our nations.  The United States is firmly committed to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and halting their support of terrorists and militias. So we are telling you right now that Iran will not have nuclear weapons.

—May 23, 2017, in a speech at the Israel Museum


We are great allies [the United States and Israel].  We have so many opportunities in front of us.  But we must seize them together.  We must take advantage of the situation, and there are many, many things that can happen now that would never have been able to happen before.  And we understand that very well.  That includes advancing prosperity, defeating the evils of terrorism, and facing the threat of an Iranian regime that is threatening the region and causing so much violence and suffering.

During my travels, I have seen many hopeful signs that lead me to believe that we can truly achieve a more peaceful future for this region and for people of all faiths and all beliefs and, frankly, all over the world.

In my visit to Saudi Arabia, I met with many leaders of the Arab and Muslim world, including King Salman, who treated us so beautifully and really wants to see great things happen for the world.  He really does.  I got to know him well, and he really does.

These leaders voiced concerns we all share -- about ISIS, about Iran’s rising ambitions and rolling back its gains, and about the menace of extremism that has spread through too many parts of the Muslim world.  I’m encouraged that they pledge cooperation to confront terrorism and the hateful ideology that drives it so hard.  America welcomes the action and support of any nation willing to do the hard but vital work in eradicating the violent ideologies that have caused so much needless bloodshed and killing here and all over the world.

—May 22, 2017, in a joint statement with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu


Starving terrorists of their territory, their funding, and the false allure of their craven ideology, will be the basis for defeating them.

But no discussion of stamping out this threat would be complete without mentioning the government that gives terrorists all three—safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment. It is a regime that is responsible for so much instability in the region. I am speaking of course of Iran.

From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror.

It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.

Among Iran’s most tragic and destabilizing interventions have been in Syria. Bolstered by Iran, Assad has committed unspeakable crimes, and the United States has taken firm action in response to the use of banned chemical weapons by the Assad Regime – launching 59 tomahawk missiles at the Syrian air base from where that murderous attack originated.

Responsible nations must work together to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria, eradicate ISIS, and restore stability to the region. The Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims are its own people. Iran has a rich history and culture, but the people of Iran have endured hardship and despair under their leaders’ reckless pursuit of conflict and terror.

Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.

The decisions we make will affect countless lives.

—May 21, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to the Arab Islamic American Summit





SUBJECT: Presidential Determination Pursuant to Section 1245(d)(4)(B) and (C) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, after carefully considering the reports submitted to the Congress by the Energy Information Administration, including the report submitted April 11, 2017, and other relevant factors such as global economic conditions, increased oil production by certain countries, the level of spare petroleum production capacity, and the availability of strategic reserves, I determine, pursuant to section 1245(d)(4)(B) and (C) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, Public Law 112-81, and consistent with prior determinations, that there is a sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products from countries other than Iran to permit a significant reduction in the volume of petroleum and petroleum products purchased from Iran by or through foreign financial institutions.  As my Administration conducts a review of its Iran policy, and consistent with United States commitments specified in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, however, the United States is not pursuing efforts to reduce Iran’s sales of crude oil at this time.

I will continue to monitor this situation closely.

The Secretary of State is authorized and directed to publish this determination in the Federal Register.


—May 17, 2017, in a memorandum for U.S. officials


AP: On Iran, which is another thing you talked a lot on the campaign —

Trump: And the other thing that we should go after is the leakers. ...

AP: On Iran, you also talked about it quite a bit on the campaign trail. And you said in the press conference yesterday that you think that Iran is violating the spirit of the agreement. When you say that, do you mean in terms of the actual nuclear accord, or do you mean what they are doing in the region?

Trump: In terms of what they are doing all over the Middle East and beyond.

AP: So you believe that they are complying with the agreement?

Trump: No, I don't say that. I say that I believe they have broken the spirit of the agreement. There is a spirit to agreements, and they have broken it.

AP: In terms of what they are doing elsewhere in the Middle East?

Trump: In terms of what they are doing of all over.

AP: When you talk to European leaders, when you talk to Merkel, for example, or Teresa May, what do they say about the nuclear deal? Do they want you to stay in that deal?

Trump: I don't talk to them about it.

AP:  You don't talk to them about the Iran deal?

TRUMP: I mention it, but it's very personal when I talk to them, you know, it's confidential. No, they have their own opinions. I don't say that they are different than my opinions, but I'd rather have you ask them that question.

AP: At this point, do you believe that you will stay in the nuclear deal?

Trump: It's possible that we won't.

—April 24, 2017, in an interview with The Associated Press


This week, I would like to send my best wishes to all those around the world celebrating the wonderful ancient holiday of Nowruz.  Many millions of people of Iranian, Iraqi, Turkish, South Asian, and Central Asian heritage will come together with their families during this time to commemorate the arrival of spring.

Nowruz means “new day” in Persian.  It is an occasion to celebrate new beginnings, a sentiment that is particularly meaningful for so many Iranians who have come to our country in recent decades to make a new start in a free land.

For many years, I have greatly enjoyed wonderful friendships with Iranian-Americans, one of the most successful immigrant groups in our country’s contemporary history. They come from diverse religious backgrounds—including Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian, and Baha’i—but all share an affection for their ancestral heritage.

Cyrus the Great, a leader of the ancient Persian Empire, famously said that “[f]reedom, dignity, and wealth together constitute the greatest happiness of humanity. If you bequeath all three to your people, their love for you will never die.”

To the Iranian people and all those around the world celebrating Nowruz: On behalf of the American people, I wish you freedom, dignity, and wealth.

Nowruz Pirouz (Happy Nowruz).

— March 22, 2017, in a statement


The security challenges faced by Israel are enormous, including the threat of Iran's nuclear ambitions, which I've talked a lot about.  One of the worst deals I've ever seen is the Iran deal.  My administration has already imposed new sanctions on Iran, and I will do more to prevent Iran from ever developing -- I mean ever -- a nuclear weapon. ...

Our security assistance to Israel is currently at an all-time high, ensuring that Israel has the ability to defend itself from threats of which there are unfortunately many.  Both of our countries will continue and grow.  We have a long history of cooperation in the fight against terrorism and the fight against those who do not value human life.  America and Israel are two nations that cherish the value of all human life.

— Feb. 15, 2017, during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu


They [Iranians] are doing a tremendous disservice to an agreement that was signed. It was a terrible agreement, it shouldn't have been signed, it shouldn't have been negotiated the way it was negotiated. ...

They are not living up to the spirit of the agreement, I can tell you that. And we are analyzing it very carefully, and we will have something to say about it in the not-too-distant future.

—April 20, 2017, to the press


O’Reilly: Let's talk about Iran, your assessment. Do you think we're on a collision course — we being the United States — with that country?

Trump: I think it was the worst deal I’ve ever seen negotiated. I think it was a deal that never should have been negotiated —

O’Reilly: The nuclear deal?

Trump: Absolutely. The deal that was made by the Obama administration. I think it’s a shame that we’ve had a deal like that and that we had to sign a deal like that and there was no reason to do it and if you’re going to do it, have a good deal.

We gave them $1.7 billion in cash, which is unheard of, and we put the money up and we have really nothing to show for it.

O’Reilly: Possible you’ll tear it up?

Trump: We’ll see what happens. We’re going to see what happens. I can say this: They have total disregard for our country. They are the number one terrorist state, they are sending money all over the place, and weapons, and you can’t do that.

O’Reilly: Sanctions, that’s how you’re gonna start with them. But you’re moving a carrier right?

Trump: I never talk about military moves. I always criticized President Obama with having an announcement that they’re going into Mosul. They give the name, the date the time. I don’t believe in that.

O’Reilly: So you’re not real bullish on Iran at this point.

Trump: I’m not bullish. I think they have total disrespect for our country and I understand that deal. I would have lived with it if they said “OK, were all together now,” but it’s just the opposite. It’s like they’re emboldened. They follow our planes, they circle our ships with their little boats and they lost respect because they can’t believe anybody could be so stupid as to make a deal like that.

—Feb. 5, 2017, in an interview on Fox News