Trump demands restoration of sanctions on Iran and predicts 'peace in the Middle East'

'We haven't held up our end of the bargain. This will isolate us diplomatically,' former Obama administration official says

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Thursday 20 August 2020 00:04 BST
Donald Trump orders restoration of sanctions on Iran

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Louise Thomas

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Donald Trump announced on Wednesday night that he has ordered administration officials to ask the United Nations to "snap back" all sanctions on Iran, and again hawkishly pledged that the country "will never have a nuclear weapon".

The president opened a coronavirus briefing with the announcement, trying to implement an Obama administration policy that was part of an Iranian nuclear deal from which he withdrew the United States.

Specifically, he said his team will ask the United Nations to order "virtually all of the previously suspended United Nations sanctions on Iran. It's a snapback, not uncommon."

"My administration will not allow this Iran nuclear situation. They will never have a nuclear weapon," the president told reporters. "Mark it down. Mark it down."

The commander in chief appeared to be attempting to green-light terms of the very Iran nuclear deal from which he removed the United States.

"When the United States entered into the Iran deal, the United States always had a right to restore" the sanctions, he said even though Washington is no longer a party to that pact.

Tommy Vietor, an Obama administration National Security Council official, immediately raised questions on Twitter.

"Trump pulled out of the Iran deal when it was working and Iran was in compliance," he wrote. "Now he wants to pretend that the US is still party to the deal and restore sanctions when we haven't held up our end of the bargain. This will isolate us diplomatically & likely lead Iran to enrich."

The president at one point called the Obama-era pact a "horrendously stupid" deal even as he was endorsing one of the major parts that was designed to keep Tehran in compliance with its non-nuclear provisions.

He also promised sanctions and said his administration's other policies will lead to "peace in the Middle East" a week after he announced a peace deal between Israel and the UAE.

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