Washington : President Donald Trump has announced that he was withdrawing the US from what he called the "decaying and rotten" Iran nuclear deal signed by the Obama regime in 2015, putting him on a collision course with America's closest allies.
The nuclear deal was negotiated and agreed to by Iran and the P5+1 (the US, UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany), granting Iran sanctions relief and returning frozen assets in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear programme and international inspections.
"It is clear to me that we cannot prevent Iran nuclear bomb. The Iran deal is defective at its core. Therefore, I am announcing today that the United States would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal," Trump said.
Moments later he signed fresh set of sanctions against Iran and warned countries against any cooperation with Tehran on its controversial nuclear weapons programme.
Referring to his consultation with key American allies, Trump said it is that they cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the "decaying and rotten" structure of the current agreement.
"If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world's leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world's most dangerous weapons," he said.
The "disastrous" deal gave Iran millions in cash and did not prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons, he added.
Describing it as a bad deal, Trump said that the agreement is unlikely to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Before Trump's announcement, which was televised live, top administration officials including Vice President Mike Pence informed Congress about his decision.
"The Iranian promise of abandoning its nuclear weapons is a lie," Trump alleged.
Allowing the deal to stay would result in an arms race in the region, he said, adding that the deal does nothing to constrain Iran's "destabilising behaviour".
Iran insists that its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful, and its compliance with the deal has been verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail. We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction, and we will not allow a regime that chants 'Death to America' to gain access to the most deadly weapons on earth," Trump said.
Trump by taking this decision ignored advice against such a move from his key European allies and top US Democratic leaders. Ever since his election campaign, Trump has frequently criticised the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA.
Trump's decision would have global ramifications, straining Iranian economy and heightening tensions in the Middle East.
French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister Theresa May expressed their "regret and concern" at Trump's decision, calling on Iran to maintain its commitments under the deal.
The three leaders said they were committed to implementing the deal despite Trump's decision to pull out.
"We urge the US to ensure that the structures of the JCPOA can remain intact and to avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal," they said in a joint statement.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said: "The US has announced that it doesn't respect its commitments."
"I have ordered the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran to be ready for action if needed, so that if necessary we can resume our enrichment on an industrial level without any limitations."
Former US president Barack Obama in a rare statement called Trump's decision a mistake.
"If the constraints on Iran's nuclear programme under the JCPOA are lost, we could be hastening the day when we are faced with the choice between living with that threat, or going to war to prevent it," he said.
Russia said it was deeply disappointed by Trump's decision to abandon the deal.
Washington's actions were "flagrantly trampling on the norms of international law", Russia's foreign ministry said.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was "deeply concerned" over Trump's decision, calling on all other nations to support the agreement and preserve the deal.
Some other American allies, however, voiced their support for the decision, particularly Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised "courageous leadership" and "bold decision today to reject the disastrous nuclear deal with the terrorist regime in Tehran.