US Walks Away from 'Worst Ever Deal'
US president Donald Trump said May 8 the US would withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement – the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – struck in 2015 and impose the harshest sanctions ever on the Islamic republic in order to prevent a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. He said the agreement had been poorly negotiated by the western partners who had failed to press home their advantage and insist on the rights to inspect Iran's military sites.
He did not say what form the sanctions would take or name any companies that would be hit, but the oil market has been factoring the likelihood of an oil supply cut, as happened before the sanctions were lifted in January 2016.
Citing Israel intelligence Trump said that it was only a matter of time before Iran, which he said was destabilising regimes the world over through its support of groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, had the equipment necessary to make a nuclear bomb. The deal allowed further enrichment of uranium on the condition it was only used for power-generation, too weak to use in a weapon. Israel's president, Benjamin Netanyahu, was quick to congratulate Trump for his 'courageous' decision.
Iran's president Hassan Rouhani however said that the deal was an agreement struck by the 5+1 group (US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) and Iran, so Trump’s decision merely proved Washington's disregard for international law.
"From now on, the nuclear deal remains between Iran and five super-powers," he said. "I have ordered foreign minister Javad Zarif to discuss the issue with other ministers. Iranians should not be concerned. We will continue the nuclear deal without the US. Trump’s decision was a psychological game. I have also ordered Iran’s nuclear organisation to be ready to resume nuclear activities if it be needed. After negotiations with our European, Russia and China partners, we will take a decision on that.”