Trump's Decision on Iran Nuclear Deal 'leaves U.S. Isolated'

By Updated at 2017-10-14 21:41:29 +0000


PARIS/ BERLIN/ ANKARA - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani harshly reacted to President Donald Trump’s decision not to certify its nuclear deal with six major powers.

Rouhani said that his country would continue to stick to the nuclear deal and that the U.S. was isolating itself, “more lonely than ever,” by condemning the accord.

“No president can revoke an international deal ... Iran will continue to respect it as long as it serves our interests,” Rouhani said in a live television address, adding that Trump’s speech was full of “insults and fake accusations” against Iranians.

Rouhani insists that Tehran will walk away if the continuing agreement does not serve the country’s national interests.

Indeed, the leaders of Britain, Germany and France urged Trump in a joint statement not to do anything rash.

“We encourage the U.S. administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the U.S. and its allies before taking any steps that might undermine the (deal), such as re-imposing sanctions on Iran lifted under the agreement,” they said. Still, they added, “Independent of the (deal) we need to make sure that our collective wider concerns are being addressed.”

In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Trump and said the U.S. president had created an opportunity to “fix this bad deal” and roll back Iran’s aggression. Netanyahu has long warned that the accord failed to address Iran’s support for militant groups who act against Israel.

Trump opened his speech by reciting a long list of grievances with Iran dating back to the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the seizure of the U.S. Embassy and American hostages in Tehran. He then noted terrorist attacks against Americans and American allies committed by Iranian proxies, such as Hezbollah, and Iran’s ongoing ballistic missile tests.

“We cannot and will not make this certification” that Iran is complying with the accord, he said. “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.”

But “decertifying” the deal stops well short of pulling out and simply moves the issues over to Congress. Lawmakers now have 60 days to decide whether to put the accord’s previous sanctions back into place, modify them or do nothing.

Republicans face a heavy lift in rallying GOP lawmakers and Democrats behind legislation that would make the accord more stringent and please Trump. Some GOP senators, like Marco Rubio of Florida, question whether the pact can be fixed.

Further complicating matters, a GOP lawmaker who will be at the center of what’s sure to be a stormy debate is Bob Corker of Tennessee, who recently compared Trump’s White House to “an adult day care center” and said the president could be setting the U.S. on a path toward World War III.

Ahead of Trump’s speech, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the administration wants lawmakers to come up with legislation that would automatically re-impose sanctions that were lifted under the deal should Iran cross any one of numerous nuclear and non-nuclear “trigger points.”

Those would include illicit atomic work or ballistic missile testing; support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and other groups that destabilize the region, or human rights abuses and cyber warfare, Tillerson said.

Also Friday, Trump said he was hitting Iran’s Revolutionary Guard with sanctions for supporting terrorism. But the U.S. is not adding the Guard to the formal U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations. That step would force the U.S. to take even further steps against the Guard that Tillerson says could be problematic.