WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — President Donald Trump is likely to strain relations with major US allies in Europe if he surrenders to the pro-Israel lobby and exits the Iran nuclear accord, former US Assistant Secretary of State Chas Freeman told Sputnik.
In his first address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump called the 2015 nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) one of the worst deals the United States had ever signed.
"It is evident that President Trump has no strategy for dealing with Iran. He is playing to his domestic base and the Israel Lobby without considering the probable reactions of Iran or the other parties to the JCPOA," Freeman said on Wednesday. "It will produce a very significant estrangement of the United States from Britain, France, and Germany."
"The major result of his threats to turn his back on the agreement or his actually doing so is unlikely to be an Iranian nuclear weapons program," Freeman said. "Iran will have every interest in carrying on with the agreement if only to widen the rift between the United States and the rest of the world."
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley noted that Trump's speech at the United Nations General Assembly did not mean that the United States wanted to withdraw from the international nuclear accord with Iran, but rather indicated that he wasn't happy with the agreement.
Haley earlier on Wednesday told ABC's ‘Good Morning America’ that Trump firmly believes Iran was violating the accord by carrying out ballistic missile testing and providing support to terrorists. US Strategic Command Chief General John Hyten later said at an Air Force association conference that the JCPOA was "holding" despite Iran’s ballistic missile development activities.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday told reporters on the sidelines of the UNGA that Trump’s speech violated the JCPOA because the agreement prohibits parties from taking stances against it.
In July 2015, Iran and the P5+1 group of nations comprised of the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom plus Germany, signed the JCPOA. The agreement stipulates lifting of nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran in exchange for Tehran maintaining the peaceful nature of its nuclear program. The plan came into force on January 16, 2016.
Chas Freeman is a lifetime director of the Atlantic Council and served as US Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’affaires at the US embassies in Beijing and Bangkok. Freeman also held several senior level positions at the US Department of Defense.