US President Donald Trump has slammed Iran’s behavior and support of terrorism, threatening to rip up the nuclear agreement signed in 2015 between Tehran and six major countries after accusing it of violating the deal.
In a speech he made at the White House on Friday, Trump took a procedural step of "decertifying" the agreement, giving the Congress 60 days to fix a series of deficiencies in the deal, mainly Iran’s ability in eight years to resume its nuclear program.
"We cannot and will not make this certification" that Iran is complying with the accord, he 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."
The accord has lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for concessions regarding its nuclear program. But without the fixes, Trump warned, he would likely pull the US out of the deal.
The US president also said he was hitting Iran's Revolutionary Guards with sanctions for supporting terrorism.
He backed away from designating the IRGC as a terror group. Instead, the US Treasury said it had taken action against the Guards under a 2001 executive order to hit sources of terror funding and added four companies that support the group to its sanctions list.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin contended the group has "played a central role to Iran becoming the world's foremost state sponsor of terror."
Trump opened his speech by reciting a long list of grievances with Iran dating back to the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the seizure of the US Embassy and American hostages in Tehran.
“The regime remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and provides assistance to al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist networks. It develops, deploys, and proliferates missiles that threaten American troops and our allies. It harasses American ships and threatens freedom of navigation in the Arabian Gulf and in the Red Sea. It imprisons Americans on false charges. And it launches cyberattacks against our critical infrastructure, financial system, and military,” he said.
Trump also accused Iran of fueling civil wars in Syria and Yemen.
“Realizing the gravity of the situation, the United States and the United Nations Security Council sought, over many years, to stop Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons with a wide array of strong economic sanctions,” he said.
“But the previous administration lifted these sanctions, just before what would have been the total collapse of the Iranian regime, through the deeply controversial 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. This deal is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA,” he added.