Trump tells Macron the U.S. will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal

BREAKING NEWS: Trump tells France’s Macron that the U.S. will pull out of the Obama-era nuclear bargain with Iran that he’s called ‘insane’ and ‘the worst deal ever’

  • Trump is threatening to reimpose sanctions on Iran on the deal’s May 12 deadline
  • Will make an announcement today at the White House on what he will do
  • Reportedly informed France’s Emmanuel Macron in a phone call this morning that he will pull the U.S. out
  • A senior British diplomat told the U.K. is ‘deeply pessimistic’ ahead of public Trump’s announcement today 
  • Trump is expected to say he’ll pull the U.S. out of the agreement 
  • Has been blasting the deal and former secretary of state John Kerry, who helped to negotiate the agreement, in tweets this week
  • External sanctions on companies that do business with Iran would hurt Europe  

President Donald Trump informed France’s Emmanuel Macron in a phone call this morning that he will pull the U.S. out the nuclear deal it signed onto three years ago after intense negotiations with Tehran. 

The New York Times reports that a person briefed on the conversation said Trump plans to reinstate all of the sanctions the U.S. waived in conjunction with the nuclear deal. Trump also plans to impose additional sanctions on Tehran, the Times’ source said. 

Macron’s office told Reuters that the Times’ report was incorrect. However, European officials told the wire service that they do expect Trump to announce today that he’s exiting the accord. U.S. officials told AP and AFP the same thing.

Trump’s anticipated action had U.S. allies on edge. A senior British diplomat told the U.K. is ‘deeply pessimistic’ ahead of public Trump’s announcement today. 

President Donald Trump says he will be announcing his decision on the Iran nuclear deal this afternoon at the White House

Iran’s Hasan Rouhani (right) said the U.S. will have ‘historic remorse’ for its decision while insisting that ‘getting rid of America’s mischievous presence will be fine for Iran’

President Donald Trump informed France’s Emmanuel Macron in a phone call this morning that he will pull the U.S. out the nuclear deal it signed onto three years ago after intense negotiations with Tehran

European leaders whose countries are party to the deal have been begging Trump to remain in the agreement. 

It could fall apart without U.S. participation while the follow-on accord he demanded is worked out, they’ve said. European officials have also warned Trump that Tehran could set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East if it restarts its uranium enrichment program.

Iran’s Hassan Rouhani was vowing to stick by the deal that provided massive sanctions relief on Monday, so long as Europe guarantees that his country’s interests will be protected. It was unclear in the lead-up to Trump’s decision, though, if that would realistically be the case.

Rouhani said the U.S. will have ‘historic remorse’ for its decision while insisting that ‘getting rid of America’s mischievous presence will be fine for Iran.’

‘If we can get what we want from a deal without America, then Iran will continue to remain committed to the deal,’ Rouhani said according to the Iran Daily. ‘What Iran wants is our interests to be guaranteed by non-American signatories.’ 

Trump says he will be announcing his decision on the Iran nuclear deal this afternoon at the White House in remarks that will be delivered straight to camera at 2 pm.

It will come as no surprise globally if Trump says he’s pulling the U.S. out of the 2015 agreement he inherited from the previous administration. The big unknown is what Trump will say he wants to happen next. 

Trump’s legislative director, Marc Short, told on Tuesday morning that the president ‘wants to see Iran end its nuclear program but also become a nation that is not funding terrorism, not attacking Israel not looking to continue to attack allies that we have. 

‘I think he’s looking for an agreement that brings Iran into the international community as opposed to being a rogue nation state that funds terrorism,’ Short said during a press scrum on the driveway leading into the West Wing.

Trump is anticipated to allow the oil sanctions that legally come up for discussion every 120 days under the deal to be reimposed on Tehran. The sanctions cut Iran’s oil exports in half in 2012, Foreign Policy reports, and crippled the Islamic Republic’s economy.

European companies will have to choose, if the sanctions are slapped back on, whether they want to do business with the U.S. or the taboo government, putting them in an undesirable position. 

John Glaser, director of foreign policy studies at the right-leaning Cato Institute, warned Tuesday that if the U.S. imposes external sanctions successfully, European companies will pull out of investment projects in Iran, removing the incentives that Rouhani would need to mollify hardliners in his country who want Iran to restart its nuclear program.

‘With lots of political will this deal could remain in place without the United States, but its going to be very, very difficult for the participants to manage,’ Glaser said.

Iran will feel ‘unburdened’ if the U.S. leaves the pact, he said, and is likely to install new centrifuges to spin uranium and limit access to inspectors. 

‘This could really unravel into something with grave consequences,’ he cautioned.  ‘All my fingers and toes are crossed, because this is a good deal that should continue to be implemented.’

U.K. foreign minister Boris Johnson worried that Trump could take military action against Tehran on top of the expected sanctions renewal. He also warned that collapse of the deal could set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the U.A.E. wanting weapons, as well.

‘It’s already a very, very dangerous state at the moment, we don’t want to go down that road. There doesn’t seem to me at the moment to be a viable military solution,’ Johnson told Fox & Friends.

Johnson was in the U.S. making last-ditch pleas for the U.S. to stay in the deal to Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, the U.S. secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence and the president’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, both of whom are senior White House officials. 

Trump teased his Iran deal announcement in a Monday afternoon tweet that provided no hints at what it would be

He told Obama era Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday morning that he needs to butt out – or else

Trump on Monday called Kerry’s intervention ‘possibly illegal’ and blamed him for the current arrangement that gave Tehran sanctions relief but would allow it to build nuclear bombs as soon as 2027

Commenting on the talks on Tuesday, a senior British diplomat told that Johnson in the meetings noted ‘our frank views on its shortcomings in regards to broader Iranian activity in the Middle East. 

‘Following the visit, unfortunately we are deeply pessimistic ahead of President Trump’s announcement later today,’ the person said. ‘However, we will have to wait and see what exactly President Trump says.’

The diplomat said, ‘Our objective will remain to uphold and maintain the JCPOA. We will need to wait to understand what the US plan is to deliver on our shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and addressing their regional behaviour.’

Trump at a news conference last month rebuffed a reporter who asked about potential military action against Iran.

‘I don’t talk about whether or not I would use military force,’ Trump said at a joint presser with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. ‘But I can tell you this, they will not be doing nuclear weapons. That I can tell you. OK? They are not going to be doing nuclear weapons. You can bank on it.’

Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu has been pushing Trump to take a more aggressive posture toward Iran, his nation’s most prolific antagonist.

Netanyahu delivered a presentation last week claiming Israel’s intelligence agency had proof that Iran ‘lied’ about its intention to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

Trump complained about the nuclear deal consistently during his campaign and harangued it as a ‘very badly negotiated’ agreement in a tweet Monday that took aim at the secretary of state who helped to broker it.

The comment followed his remarks at a news conference alongside Macron that the deal was made ‘decayed foundations’ and was not structured to last.

‘Should have never, ever been made. I blame Congress. I blame a lot of people for it,’ Trump said.

Trump has until May 12 to decide whether he wants to allow a sanctions waiver that applies to Tehran to expire. 

If the sanctions go back into effect, the U.S. will be in violation of the agreement effectively ending its participation in the deal it entered into with the U.K., France, China, Russia and Germany.

Trump has said he would be willing to sign on to a companion agreement that encompasses the nuclear aspects of the current one and applies new pressure to Iran to abandon its ballistic missiles program, end terrorist financing and broker a peace agreement between the ruling government and rebels in Syria.

Macron told Trump last month that he would pursue such an agreement on behalf of Europe. The French president told reporters after his White House visit that he suspected Trump would leave the 2015 accord in the meantime to hasten the process up.

Kerry (left) is seen with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in 2016; Kerry met with Zarif last month for secret talks about how to undermine Trump’s bid to kill the nuclear deal

Hinting at the action he is anticipated to take today Trump told Macron publicly, ‘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.’

He also said ‘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,’ he said. ‘Because this a deal with decayed foundations. It’s a bad deal. It’s a bad structure. It’s falling down.’

Trump charged then in his most confrontational comments yet to Tehran that, ‘If Iran threatens us in any way, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid.’

Shedding light on his plans last Monday, Trump said a press conference: ‘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,’ he added. 

Trump’s White House spokeswoman and the president appeared to be on different wavelengths about the timing of that declaration on Monday, with Sarah Sanders saying at news conference that he would be making an ‘announcement on what his decision is soon’ only to have Trump tweet minutes later that it would come on Tuesday.

‘As you know he’s got a few days to do that, and we’ll let you know when he’s ready to make a decision on it,’ she said. 

She also suggested that former Secretary of State John Kerry needs to butt out of negotiations after his secret meetings with foreign leaders were revealed.

Trump blasted Kerry on Tuesday morning as he prepared to take the U.S. foreign policy in a new direction.

‘John Kerry can’t get over the fact that he had his chance and blew it! Stay away from negotiations John, you are hurting your country!’ Trump said.

The president had already spoken out about Kerry’s ‘shadow diplomacy’ on Monday following news reports that the Obama administration official has secretly met with foreign governments in a bid to save the much-maligned deal.

Kerry has also been meeting with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (left) and French President Emmanuel Macron (right) in attempts to salvage the Iran deal

The Boston Globe reported Friday that Kerry quietly met two weeks ago with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and had separate confabs with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and French President Emmanuel Macron – all to strategize against Trump’s intention to upend the deal.

‘The United States does not need John Kerry’s possibly illegal Shadow Diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran Deal,’ the president wrote Monday on Twitter. ‘He was the one that created this MESS in the first place!’ 

Sanders told reporters on Monday that Kerry’s advocacy won’t make a difference as Trump weighs what to do.

‘I don’t think that we would take advice from somebody who created what the president sees as one of the worst deals ever made,’ she said. ‘I don’t see why we would start listening to him now.’

A spokesman for Kerry issued a statement late Monday morning, defending his apparent habit of lobbying foreign governments as a civilian, potentially in violation of an obscure U.S. law known as the Logan Act.

‘I think every American would want every voice possible urging Iran to remain in compliance with the nuclear agreement that prevented a war,’ the statement said. 

‘Secretary Kerry stays in touch with his former counterparts around the world just like every previous Secretary of State. Like America’s closest allies, he believes it is important that the nuclear agreement, which took the world years to negotiate, remain effective as countries focus on stability in the region.’ 

Kerry’s tenure as secretary of state ended when Trump took office in January of 2017. Trump replaced him with the since-fired Rex Tillerson. Mike Pompeo holds the Cabinet-level position now. 

 Kerry could run afoul of the Logan Act, a 200+ year-old federal law that made it a felony for civilians to conduct foreign policy without authorization

The Logan Act makes it a felony for unauthorized civilians to conduct foreign policy with nations that are in the midst of a dispute with the United States. 

The statute dates back to 1799 and has only been used twice to indict people – in 1803 and 1852. Neither was convicted.

One defendant, a Peruvian admiral, was prosecuted for writing a letter to the president of Mexico to scuttle a competitor’s bid to build a railroad connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The other was a farmer charged with the crime of writing a newspaper article urging western U.S. states to secede and join neighboring French territories.

Some legal scholars have written that the Logan Act is unconstitutional, and only remains on the books because it hasn’t been tested in court.


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