President Trump announced earlier this afternoon that the United States intends to withdraw from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal. The move has been widely anticipated at home and abroad. Trump’s opposition to the plan is well known, and he is not the only current or former US politician who believes the Obama administration’s approval of the plan was a mistake. The president spent an inordinate amount of time listening to the arguments and opinions of the plan’s supporters and opponents before rendering his decision.
Trump views the 2015 deal as greatly favoring Iran. It places insubstantial limits on Iranian nuclear activity, and opens the door for Tehran to pursue a nuclear weapons program once key sections of the deal lapse. The deal also lifted the most stringent economic sanctions that had been previously imposed on Iran. Now that the US is withdrawing from the deal, some, or all of those sanctions can be imposed on Tehran again.
International reaction to Trump’s announcement came almost instantly and included no real surprises. Israel, predictably, is elated. France, Germany, and the United Kingdom have released statements voicing their regret on the US decision. Iran is livid, which hardly comes as a shock. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in a televised broadcast shortly after the US announcement, stated that he’s instructing Iran’s foreign minister to begin negotiations with the nations remaining in the deal. He also said the time remaining to negotiate is limited and Iran could begin “enriching uranium more than before.”