US President Donald Trump warned Iran on Wednesday there will be severe consequences if it restarts its nuclear weapons program. In a conversation with reporters in Washington before a cabinet meeting, Trump said he believes Tehran will eventually renegotiate the 2015 nuclear deal with the six world powers.
“I would advise Iran not to start their nuclear program. I would advise them very strongly. If they do, there will be very severe consequence,” he said.
The president spoke one day after he announced America’s withdrawal from the Iran deal and the reimposition of US sanctions on Tehran. “Iran will come back and say, ‘We don’t want to negotiate.’ And of course, they’re going to say that. And if I were in their position, I’d say that, too, for the first couple of months, ‘We’re not going to negotiate,’” Trump said. “But they’ll negotiate, or something will happen. And hopefully that won’t be the case,” he said. The sanctions the US will place on Iran are the strongest it has ever issued against any country, Trump said. These sanctions are “going into effect very shortly. They’re mostly constituted and drawn already.” This is “a deal to hurt the world and, certainly, Israel. You saw Benjamin Netanyahu get up yesterday and talk so favorably about what we did,” he said. “We’re going to make either a really good deal for the world, or we’re not going to make a deal at all,” Trump said. US National Security Adviser John Bolton told CBS News the hope is that the sanctions will be so crippling that Tehran will be forced to give up its ballistic missiles program. The Islamic Republic has increased spending on its ballistic missile program, which is not covered by the deal, Bolton said. It needs these missiles for a nuclear weapons program, he added. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blasted the US on Wednesday, charging that it is untrustworthy and that it had been a mistake for his country to enter into the 2015 agreement.
“From day one, I said several times that the United States is not to be trusted. I said it publicly and privately. I said if you want to sign an agreement, first make sure that necessary guarantees are made,” Khamenei said. “What happened is a foul play on the part of the United States, and it does not surprise us,” he said during a speech he gave in Tehran. An English translation of his speech was published on his webpage. The issue, he said, is not Iran’s nuclear weapons program but rather the persistent American animosity toward his country.
THE EU-3 COUNTRIES – France, Germany and the United Kingdom – hope they can sway Iran to remain in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Under the terms of the JCPOA, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for an agreement from the six world powers that they would lift their economic sanctions. Russia and China are also signatories to the deal and, like the EU-3, have no interest in ending it.