Former President Barack Obama spent years working toward the Iran deal, a landmark foreign policy achievement that his administration believed was the surest way to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons and avoiding war.
And then Donald Trump torpedoed it on Tuesday, calling the deal “a great embarrassment to me as a citizen and to all citizens of the United States.”
Naturally, Obama had some choice words in return for his successor. Calling Trump's decision "so misguided" and “'a serious mistake,” the 44th president warned Trump against his habit of breaking America’s promises.
“In a democracy, there will always be changes in policies and priorities from one Administration to the next,” Obama said in a statement issued shortly after Trump’s announcement. “But the consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to risks eroding America's credibility, and puts us at odds with the world's major powers.”
Though long-telegraphed by the White House, Trump’s decision to officially pull the U.S. out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, more commonly known as the Iran deal, has drawn immediate criticism from America’s European allies and raised concerns that the U.S is setting itself up for more war in the Middle East.
European leaders offered similarly grim opinions, saying they received Trump's decision with “regret and concern.” But that doesn't change their desire to keep the deal in place. In a joint statement, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said their countries remained committed to the multi-party deal, which also involves Russia and China.
“This resolution remains the binding international legal framework for the resolution of the dispute about the Iranian nuclear programme,” the statement read.
Iran's Rouhani said he too planned to stay in the deal with the remaining parties.
Tuesday's announcement marks the second time Trump has pulled the U.S. out of a major joint agreement with its European allies and global partners. Last summer, Trump exited the Paris climate agreement, despite urgent pleas from European leaders, the United Nations, and officials in his own administration.
Obama ended his statement with a defense of multilateral diplomacy.
“Going forward, I hope that Americans continue to speak out in support of the kind of strong, principled, fact-based, and unifying leadership that can best secure our country and uphold our responsibilities around the globe.”
You can read Obama's full statement here: