By Eli Ridder | @EliRidder
United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he is set to withdraw his country from the multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran that exchanges sanctions relief for Tehran dropping their nuclear weapons research.
The deal he called “decaying and rotten” was signed in 2015 with all members of the United Nations Security Council — the United States under former President Barack Obama, Russia, France, China, United Kingdom — and Germany, or P5+1.
The move comes against the advice of European members of the deal, after several weeks of anticipation, with Iran responding by saying that it was preparing to restart uranium enrichment, the starting point for both nuclear energy and weapons.
“The US has announced that it doesn’t respect its commitments. I have ordered the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran to be ready to start the enrichment of uranium at industrial levels,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said, reported the BBC.
Mr. Rouhani said that he would “wait a few weeks” to speak to allies and the other signatories to the nuclear deal first, saying that “if we achieve the deal’s goals in cooperation with other members of the deal, it will remain in place.”
The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, partially blocked Iran’s nuclear activities in return for the lifting of sanctions that had been imposed by the UN, U.S. and EU.
Trump has previously claimed the deal only limited Iran’s nuclear development for a specific time period, had failed to halt ballistic missile innovation and gave Iran $100 billion USD to be used as a “slush fund” for terrorism across the Middle East region.
Mr. Obama called Trump’s announcement “misguided”.