Asked what he would do if Iran restarted its program, Trump said: “I would advise Iran not to start their nuclear program.”
“If they do, there will be very severe consequences,” Trump said Wednesday during a Cabinet meeting.
Trump announced Tuesday he is quitting the Iran nuclear deal, pitting him against the United States’ closest allies and leaving the future of Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in question.
“It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement,” Trump said from the White House Diplomatic Room. “The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing we know exactly what will happen.”
In announcing his long-telegraphed decision, Trump said he would initiate new sanctions on the regime, crippling the touchstone agreement negotiated by his predecessor. Trump had said any country that helps Iran obtain nuclear weapons would also be “strongly sanctioned.”
“This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” the President said Tuesday in remarks that, at times, misrepresented the international agreement’s provisions. “It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”
Trump’s decision could have explosive consequences, straining longstanding US alliances, disrupting oil markets and boosting tensions in the Middle East, even if the US reversal doesn’t lead Iran to restart its atomic program.
While Trump supporters praised the move, analysts and critics said it undermines Washington’s credibility in future negotiations — particularly with North Korea — and potentially empowers the very hardliners in Iran that Trump vilified in his remarks.
It also further isolates Trump on the global stage, where he has angered even the staunchest US allies by reneging on US commitments to the Paris climate accord and pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.