President Donald Trump decried Tuesday what he called Iran’s “brutal” regime and said the multilateral nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic provided its leaders with a “windfall” they’re using to “sow chaos, death, and disruption.”
“We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet’s most dangerous weapons,” Trump told the United Nations General Assembly. “We cannot allow a regime that chants ‘Death to America’ and threatens Israel with annihilation; they cannot possess the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to any city on Earth. We just cannot do it. We ask all nations to isolate Iran’s regime as long as its aggression continues, and we ask all nations to support Iran’s people as they struggle to reclaim their religious and righteous destiny.”
The U.S. might have to wait. Trump’s remarks came a day after the European Union and other signatories to the nuclear agreement announced a new mechanism to effectively bypass U.S. sanctions. The announcement, which at the moment is mostly symbolic, represents the chipping away at the U.S. sanctions regime by arguably its most important ally. It also represents a temporary political victory for Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, who has been vilified at home for, in the view of his political rivals, giving away the country’s nuclear program with nothing to show for it. Perhaps most significantly, it represents another rupture in U.S.-EU relations that have already been hurt by the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, Trump’s questioning of the U.S. commitment to NATO, and his imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs on the bloc. Trump’s remarks on Iran merely highlighted the growing divisions in the transatlantic alliance.