President Trump told French President Emmanuel Macron that the U.S. will back out of the Iran nuclear deal in a phone conversation. The official announcement of Trump’s decision on the Iran deal is scheduled for 2 p.m. Eastern, just hours after the conversation took place.
The decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal is not entirely unexpected, as President Trump had campaigned on the issue and has been talking about it with increased frequency in recent weeks. French President Emmanuel Macron urged Trump to stick with the deal and Bloomberg noted that both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom urged the president to reconsider his position as well.
The New York Times reports that President Trump‘s decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran deal will likely create new cracks in the alliances with its European allies, and it may generate friction with China and Russia as well. Withdrawing from the deal means that the U.S. can pursue economic penalties against Iran as well as put previously waived sanctions back into place. It may, however, take some time for those changes to be implemented.
Not only did numerous European leaders work to change Trump’s mind on the Iran deal, some of his own aides reportedly worked hard to convince him to stay the course as well. However, new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton have been more supportive of the idea of backing out of the deal.
Macron had previously spoken about the Iran deal and he admitted that he thought Trump would likely pull the U.S. out of the deal. Bloomberg indicated that Macron told reporters recently that Trump would probably withdraw for his own domestic reasons. The United Nations supports the 2015 deal and European leaders have been scrambling in recent weeks to come up with terms that could convince Trump to keep the U.S. in the deal.
While the decision isn’t final until the official announcement, Trump has long been a vocal opponent of the nuclear accords, calling it a “bad deal” since the 2016 campaign trail. However, insiders revealing that Trump called French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of the official announcement indicates that he has stuck to his guns and decided to follow through on this campaign promise, regardless of the pleas from European leaders and some of his own aides.
Update: Reuters says that according to the French presidency, Trump gave no indication of what his decision was during his Tuesday phone call with Macron. However, a high-ranking European official involved in the situation reportedly told the news outlet that U.S. officials had detailed the decision to withdraw Monday night.
While it may remain somewhat unclear exactly what Macron and Trump discussed on Tuesday, all signs seem to point toward to an official announcement coming Tuesday afternoon stating that the U.S. will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.