President Donald Trump denounced the Iran nuclear deal Friday and threatened to pull out of it if Congress does not toughen the accord.
“As I have said many times, the Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” Trump said during a speech at the White House.
The Iran deal, officially named the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” was an agreement between Iran and several other world powers to reduce the production of two elements used to make nuclear weapons: plutonium and uranium, according to Fox News. In return, the strict economic sanctions on Iran were alleviated.
“Every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off,” Obama said at the time the accord was signed in 2015. “This deal is not built on trust. It is built on verification.”
Trump said the deal is no longer in the best interest of the U.S. and said Iran “has committed multiple violations of the agreement.” He also accused Iranian capital Tehran of “not living up to the spirit of the deal,” according to The Hill.
But CNN reports the International Atomic Energy Agency, America’s European allies and the government itself have said Tehran is complying with the agreement.
Instead of ripping up the agreement, as he pledged to do during his campaign, Trump passed the issue off to Congress to strengthen the law that governs the U.S.’s part in the deal, but Trump said he reserves the right to pull out of the agreement.
“Our participation can be canceled by me, as president, at any time,” Trump said during the same speech. “They may come back with something that’s very satisfactory to me, and if they don’t, within a very short period of time, I’ll terminate the deal.”
The Chicago Tribunereports Trump is required by U.S. law to certify to Congress that Iran has been complying with the deal by Sunday. The president is required to notify Congress of this every 90 days, which Trump has done twice now but said Friday he would not do again.
“We cannot and will not make this certification,” Trump said. “We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout. I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani defended the deal and said Iran will continue to abide by the terms set by the agreement, adding that Trump’s position has left the U.S. “more isolated than ever.”