After publicly signing a memorandum to violate the Iran nuclear deal by reinstating the “highest levels” of U.S. sanctions against the country, President Trump was asked a very basic question by a reporter who was in attendance at the White House for the ceremony.
“Mr. President, how does this America safer?” she said. “How does this make America safer?”
Trump gathered his thoughts for a moment, then just restated the question in the form of an assertion.
“This will make America much safer,” he said, before getting up for the table on which he signed the memorandum.
The president’s inability to answer the most basic question about his decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement is indicative of why many experts question the wisdom of doing so in the first place. Under the Joint Cooperation Plan of Action (JCPOA), the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency could regularly inspect Iran’s nuclear program to make sure that it is for peaceful purposes. By all accounts, that process was working. But now that Trump has pulled the U.S. out, it’s unclear what will come next.
During a speech that preceded the memorandum signing, Trump struck a threatening tone, at one point vowing that “if the regime continues its nuclear aspirations, it will have bigger problems than it has ever had before.”
Trump did not outline an alternative plan for overseeing Iran’s nuclear program, nor did he detail any specific reasons why he feels compelled to pull out at this time. The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency has found Iran to be in compliance on 11 occasions since the JCPOA was adopted under the Obama administration in 2015.
Standing nearby Trump while he delivered his speech was new national security adviser John Bolton, who spoke out on behalf of bombing Iran as recently as 2015.