In a press conference with the French President Emmanuel Macron, President Trump reiterated that the Iran nuclear deal was “insane” and “ridiculous.”
The press conference took place yesterday at the White House, during which Trump said, “if Iran threatens us in any way, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid”. The President’s comments gave rise to concerns.
“It should have never ever been made,” said Trump, sitting alongside French President Macron in the Oval Office. “[If] they restart their nuclear program they will have bigger problems than they’ve ever had before,” he stated. “They’re not going to be restarting.”
Despite these remarks, it is not clear how Trump is planning to reengage Iran on the nuclear question. The increasing confusion has left Republican leaders divided on the issue, as May 12 approaches.
A sizable number of people are worried that Trump’s exiting this nuclear deal will result in a boost for Iran’s weapon program. In addition, this will sever the U.S. from its allies, making it harder to negotiate and finalize an agreement with North Korea about their nuclear program.
In the press conference on Tuesday, Trump dropped hints that he may stay in the deal, saying, “Nobody knows what I’m going to do on the 12th, although Mr. President, you have a pretty good idea,” said Trump to Macron in the joint press conference that took place in the White House.
Trump spoke against the nuclear deal made during Obama’s second term. However, he stated that he is open to negotiating a new deal. Despite the uncertainty of Trump’s decision, this declaration was a relief to some GOP lawmakers who wanted to stay in the deal with the U.S. allies. Some are even enthusiastic about the possible improvements that might be made in the deal.
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) who was against this agreement, acknowledged that withdrawing from the deal now did not make much sense.
“I think it’s a bad idea,” said Paul referring to the option of withdrawing from the deal. “This was a multilateral deal, and the reason sanctions work against Iran is because we were unified in negotiating the deal.”
Paul stated that Iran has already been benefitting economically after it was relieved of the sanctions, and the U.S.’s withdrawal from the deal at this point would only make it harder for world leaders to keep a check on Iran’s nuclear activities.
On the other hand, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) who was originally against the deal when it was made by Obama’s administration became increasingly worried about the ramifications of the U.S. exiting the deal.
“I do think there’s merit to being part of a group that’s heavily monitoring what’s going on and seeing certain developments,” said Capito. “And I think we have to pay close attention to what our allies are saying.
“I would tread lightly here if I were the President” she added.