Donald Trump is determined to trash the Iran deal which has caused the Iranians to threaten to restart their now dormant nuclear program. In meetings with Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, here on a state visit, in meetings with Trump tried to calm the rhetoric and convince Trump to stay in the deal. Trump has until May 12 to decide if the US will re-impose economic sanctions on Tehran that were lifted under the nuclear deal.
Trump has been calling for new limits on Iran’s ballistic missile program, which the original nuclear deal did not cover, more intrusive international inspections of suspected nuclear sites and permanent restrictions on Iran’s ability to quickly develop an atomic bomb.
“It was insane. Ridiculous. It should have never been made,” Trump said, warning Iran: “If they restart their nuclear program, they will have bigger problems than they’ve ever had before.”
Macron interjected that the nuclear deal “is an important issue,” adding: “But we have to take it as part of the broader picture, which is security in the overall region.”
Trump and Macron are both also concerned about Tehran’s growing influence in the Middle East, including through proxy militias in other nations. Iran’s regional rise has particularly alarmed Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Macron said that both the U.S. and France seek to “contain the Iranian presence” in the Middle East.
Trump cited Iran’s support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom U.S. officials allege was behind a chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb earlier this month. [..]
Iranian officials warn that they will respond if Trump reneges on the U.S. side of the deal.
“I am telling those in the White House that if they do not live up to their commitments… the Iranian government will firmly react,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a Tuesday speech, according to a Reuters report.
“If anyone betrays the deal, they should know that they would face severe consequences,” Rouhani also said. “Iran is prepared for all possible situations.”
Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, suggested in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS News that his country could resume its nuclear program “at much greater speed.”
Zarif insisted, however, that didn’t mean developing nuclear weapons because Iran “has never wanted to produce a bomb.”
Iran has always said its nuclear program was peaceful, meant for energy and scientific purposes. But Western powers have long suspected Iran wants nuclear weapons capability.
The Ayatollahs, the real power in Iran, long ago issued a fatwah, a judgement, forbidding the development of a nuclear weapon. The consider nuclear weapons inhumane and against the teachings of Islam.
On Sunday night, John Oliver, the host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” the “long-term and potentially irreversible” damage of allowing that agreement to fall apart.