President Trump is expected to announce on Tuesday that he is withdrawing the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, European diplomats said after concluding that they had failed to convince him that reneging on America’s commitment to the pact could cast the West into new confrontation with Tehran.
If the diplomats are correct, the announcement will be the most consequential national security decision of President Trump’s 15 months in office.
One senior European diplomat who has been deeply involved in trying to persuade President Trump to stay in the deal told reporters on Monday the chance that the president would keep the agreement intact was “very small.”
Two American officials echoed his assessment, telling CNN Trump is expected to announce he will permit new sanctions on the Islamic republic to be levied—a first step en route to the US’s withdrawal from the deal.
If the president does decide to renew sanctions, it will be up to the US’s European allies to decide how to act. Similarly, Iran will have to decide whether to continue complying with the deal’s conditions or announce its own withdrawal, as it has threatened to do.
In any event, the sanctions will not be imposed immediately but after a period of several months, during which the American administration will publish instructions to companies and banks.
A senior Western diplomat said France, Britain and Germany—which were also party to the agreement—were working on the assumption of a hard US exit after a call last week between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and European officials at which he made clear talks on rescuing the deal would not go further.
Iran’s Hassan 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.
In a briefing to foreign reporters on Sunday, Netanyahu said “a deal that enables Iran to keep and hide all its nuclear weapons know-how, is a horrible deal.”
The deal “has to be either fully fixed or fully nixed,” he said. “But if you do nothing to this deal, if you keep it as is, you will end up with Iran with a nuclear arsenal in a very short time,” he said.
Last week, Netanyahu showed a “half ton” of Iranian nuclear documents seized by Israeli intelligence revealed that Iran had lied about its past efforts to produce nuclear weapons.