President Trump warned Iran that it will ‘have big problems’ if it restarts its nuclear program with or without an agreement providing sanctions relief in exchange for its cooperation.
‘If Iran threatens us in any way, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid,’ he said at a news conference.
Trump signaled that he would stay in an existing agreement that covers Tehran’s nuclear activities, however, in the face of a promise that Europe will work toward a new deal that addresses his concerns about Syria and ballistic missiles.
His threats followed Tehran’s claims that it could take ‘surprising actions’ and the U.S. would suffer ‘serious consequences’ if the U.S. president fulfills his promise to leave the pact.
President Trump railed against Barack Obama’s administration for signing onto the accord in the first place as he held court with the Oval Office French President Emmanuel Macron.
Trump said the U.S. was ‘insane’ to send Iran ‘barrels of cash’ as part of the deal that ‘should have never, ever been made’ because it did not deal with ballistic missiles or Iran’s activities in conflicts in places like Yemen or Syria.
“You can mark it down, if they restart their nuclear program, they will have bigger problems than they’ve ever had before,” Trump repeated. “Iran will pay if it restarts nuclear program.”
“We made this terrible deal but we’re going to discuss it,” he said. Under the deal, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear ambitions in return for relief from economic sanctions.
One of Macron’s main objectives during his three-day visit to Washington is to persuade Trump to stay in the deal. Trump remains publicly undecided but reminded his French counterpart of flaws in the agreement.
Macron told reporters that he and Trump would look at the Iran deal “in a wider regional context,” taking into account the situation in Syria. “We have a common objective, we want to make sure there’s no escalation and no nuclear proliferation in the region. We now need to find the right path forward,” Macron said.
Trump suggested he was open to “doing something” on the Iran agreement as long as it was done “strongly.” He told Macron, “We could have at least an agreement among ourselves very quickly.” But when he was asked by reporters what that agreement would be, Trump said, “You’ll find out.”