As expected, President Trump has decertified the Iran nuclear deal signed by his predecessor. Also as expected, the Iranians are not taking it well.
In a speech at the White House earlier today, Trump said he hoped “new measures directed at the Iranian dictatorship” will compel Tehran to “reevaluate its pursuit of terror.”
Noting that his “highest obligation” as president “is to ensure the safety and security of the American people,” Trump said further that “history has shown that the longer we ignore a threat the more dangerous that threat becomes.”
The president next ticked off a litany of military and terrorist actions taken by Iran and its proxies, namely Hezbollah, dating back to 1979 when the mullahs overthrew the Shah, then a U.S. ally, and installed a theocratic regime. He also noted that Iranian terrorism has spread to other nations and other parts of the world.
As I have said many times, the Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the U.S. 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 interests, the nuclear deal through 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. An over $100 billion its government could use to fund terrorism. The regime also received a massive cash settlement of $1.7 billion from the U.S., a large portion of which was physically loaded onto an airplane and flown into Iran. Just imagine the site 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 more 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?
As for specific violations of the agreement, the president said:
The Iranian regime has committed multiple violations of the agreement, for example on two speared occasions they have exceeded the limit of 130 metric tons of heavy water, until recently, the Iranian regime has also failed to meet our expectation 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 thorough analyses 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 U.S adheres to our commitment under the deal the Iranian regime continues to fuel conflict, terror and turmoil throughout the Middle East and beyond.
The plan of action:
First, we will work with our allies to counter the regimes 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 neighbor’s global trade and freedom of navigation. And finally, we will deny the regime all paths to a nuclear weapon.
Today I’m 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 core. 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 resized 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 core for support for terrorism and to apply sanctions to its officials, agents and affiliates.
In response, one Iranian general, Esmail Ghaani, commander of the Quds Force, has threatened to “bury” Trump, and that his words will “damage” the U.S.
“We are not a war-mongering country. But any military action against Iran will be regretted. Trump’s threats against Iran will damage America,” he said. “We have buried many, like Trump, and know how to fight against America.” Iranian President Rouhani called Trump’s accusations “baseless.”
Here is the speech:
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