Trump: Iran nuke pact ‘one of the dumbest deals I have ever seen’

Trump: Iran nuke pact ‘one of the dumbest deals I have ever seen’
US President-elect Donald Trump ... charting a course far different from previous administrations. (AP)
Updated 17 January 2017

Trump: Iran nuke pact ‘one of the dumbest deals I have ever seen’

Trump: Iran nuke pact ‘one of the dumbest deals I have ever seen’

WASHINGTON: US President-elect Donald Trump has described the Iran nuclear agreement as “one of the dumbest deals I have ever seen” in an interview with The Times of London.
But Trump, who will be inaugurated on Friday as the 45th US president, refused to say whether he would tear up Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran.
“I’m not happy with the Iran deal, I think it’s one of the worst deals ever made,” he said.
Trump also criticized Russia’s intervention in Syria’s civil war which, along with the help of Iran, has tilted the conflict in President Bashar Assad’s favor.
“I think it’s a very rough thing,” Trump said of Russian intervention in Syria in the interview. “Aleppo has been such a terrible humanitarian situation.”
The war has killed more than 300,000 people and created the world’s worst refugee crisis .
Trump said he will propose offering to end sanctions imposed on Russia over its annexation of Crimea in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal with Moscow.
Criticizing previous US foreign policy in the interview, he described the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 as possibly the gravest error in the history of the US and akin to “throwing rocks into a beehive.”
President Obama, meanwhile, marked the first anniversary of the nuclear deal by emphasizing its “significant and concrete results” and warning against undoing a pact supported by the world’s major powers.
In language that seemed clearly directed at Trump, a White House statement said “the US must remember that this agreement was the result of years of work, and represents an agreement between the world’s major powers — not simply the US and Iran.”
It said the deal had “achieved significant, concrete results in making the US and the world a safer place” and “verifiably prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
Such a diplomatic solution, it added, was “far preferable to an unconstrained Iranian nuclear program or another war in the Middle East.”
The White House insisted on Monday that despite US reservations about other actions by Iran — including its support for “violent proxies” and “terrorist groups” — Tehran was upholding its nuclear commitments.
Iran, it said, had “reduced its uranium stockpile by 98 percent and removed two-thirds of its centrifuges.”
The White House stance was backed up by a statement from Secretary of State John Kerry, who helped negotiate the deal.
The agreement, Kerry said, had “resolved a major nuclear threat without firing a shot or sending a single soldier into combat. It was endorsed unanimously by the UN Security Council and earned the support of more than 100 countries across the globe.”
For all of Trump’s sharp criticism of Iran and the nuclear deal, his policy once in office remains unclear.
One of his top Cabinet nominees, retired Marine general James Mattis, said last week that if he is confirmed as defense secretary, he will support the nuclear deal.
“When America gives her word,” he told senators during his confirmation hearing, “we have to live up to it and work with our allies.”
Also on Monday, EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini insisted the bloc will stand by the Iran nuclear accord because it serves Europe’s security needs.
“It is proof that diplomacy works and delivers... The European Union will continue to work for the respect and implementation of this extremely important deal, most of all for our security,” Mogherini said as she went into an EU foreign ministers’ meeting.
Mogherini said she would not comment on Trump’s remarks, but claimed that much had been accomplished.
The agreement “has delivered both on the nuclear-related commitments Iran took and on the firm determination of the international community to fully implement this deal,” she said.
As far as the EU was concerned, the accord had resulted in increased trade and economic ties, “which is really significant,” she added.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who spoke to the press ahead of the EU ministers’ meeting, also said the accord must be maintained.
He said it had been “a difficult and controversial deal, but one which has stopped the Iranians from acquiring nuclear technology they might otherwise have acquired, and it is a deal which we think has great merit and we want to keep going.”