Trump: U.S. 'Will Withdraw' From Iran Nuclear Deal Reaction was mixed, with Barack Obama calling the move "misguided," Israel praising the president, and Iran and France, Britain and Germany considering the next step.

Trump: U.S. 'Will Withdraw' From Iran Nuclear Deal

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

President Trump promised during his campaign that he would dismantle the Iran nuclear agreement. Today he took a significant step towards fulfilling that pledge.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

CORNISH: Trump said the U.S. will reinstate tough sanctions on Iran, a decision that is frustrating European allies who had urged Trump to remain in the deal. NPR's Ayesha Rascoe joins us now from the White House to speak more about this. And, Ayesha, first describe exactly what happened today. What did President Trump announce?

AYESHA RASCOE, BYLINE: President Trump says the U.S. will be reimposing what he called the highest level of economic sanctions against Iran. These were lifted when the Obama administration negotiated this deal. And the sanctions relief piece of this is really critical because that was the heart of this agreement and why Iran accepted limits on its nuclear program in the first place. Trump says that he talked with countries involved in the deal about possible fixes, but he says he now believes the problems with the agreement could not be solved.

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TRUMP: After these consultations, it is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement. The Iran deal is defective at its core.

RASCOE: Trump has long complained that this deal did not address Iran's ballistic missile program, its support for terrorism and that some of the provisions in it were not permanent. European allies agreed that the deal wasn't perfect, but they argued that these issues could be addressed without scrapping the current deal.

CORNISH: So what happens now that the president has made this decision?

RASCOE: Companies doing business with Iran in these sectors that will once again fall under sanctions - they will have the wind down that business. And companies won't be able to do new contracts in those areas unless they want to face sanctions. National security adviser John Bolton said that, essentially, the business environment would return to the state that it was in prior to the 2015 agreement. And he said that more sanctions could be imposed.

CORNISH: Meanwhile, the president has always talked about making a better deal, but is that something that's actually on the table?

RASCOE: Yes, in theory. This is something that the president has said he would be open to - President Trump. He seems to be betting that sanctions on Iran will force them back into talks with the U.S.

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TRUMP: The fact is they are going to want to make a new and lasting deal, one that benefits all of Iran and the Iranian people. When they do, I am ready, willing and able.

RASCOE: But it's not at all clear that Iran or U.S. allies will come back to the table. And this is sort of a pattern for President Trump, where he's pulled out of other international agreements saying he'd be willing to renegotiate. And nothing's really come of it.

CORNISH: And then all this is happening just as the U.S. is ready to engage in a round of talks with North Korea. So did the president bring this up - draw any connection between these?

RASCOE: He did. And he's - the White House is arguing this will put them in a better position to drive a hard bargain with North Korea. And President Trump mentioned during his announcement that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is on his way to North Korea now to help make arrangements for Trump's upcoming meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Ayesha Rascoe at the White House. Thank you.

RASCOE: Thank you.

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