Fact-checking Trump's Iran speech

President Donald ...

Posted: May 9, 2018 8:42 AM
Updated: May 9, 2018 8:42 AM

President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that the US is withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, arguing that remaining in the current agreement would lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

"It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement," Trump said from the White House Diplomatic Room. "The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing we know exactly what will happen."

In announcing his decision, Trump said he would initiate new sanctions on the regime, crippling the touchstone agreement negotiated by his predecessor. Trump said any country that helps Iran obtain nuclear weapons could also be "strongly sanctioned."

To make his case, he made a series of claims about the deal's flaws -- some true, some false and some up for debate. Here's a look at how accurate those claims were:

Trump: Iran deal brokered on "giant fiction"

Trump claimed on Tuesday that the previous US administration and its partners who brokered the nuclear deal did so believing that Iran had no intention of developing a nuclear weapon.

"At the heart of the Iran deal was a giant fiction, that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear energy program," Trump said.

Yes, Iran repeatedly claimed that its nuclear program was for purely peaceful purposes. But the US and its allies pursued the Iran deal for the very opposite reason: because they believed Iran was indeed pursuing a nuclear weapon.

That's why the P5+1 countries that negotiated the deal brokered the agreement, which capped Iran's nuclear enrichment and set up an inspections regime of Iranian nuclear sites.

Trump: Israeli documents show Iran's "history of pursuing nuclear weapons"

"Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie. Last week. Israel published intelligence documents, long-concealed by Iran, conclusively showing the Iranians' regime and its history of pursuing nuclear weapons," Trump said on Tuesday.

Yes, the secret Iranian documents revealed last month by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed that Iran at one time had plans to use its nuclear program to build a nuclear weapon. But again, that had not been in doubt from the US or its European allies' perspective.

Trump is using the documents to make his case for withdrawing from the deal, but the documents obtained by Israel did not reveal facts about Iran's past intentions that the international community did not already broadly know. And it didn't reveal anything about Iran's current nuclear program, though the IAEA has confirmed multiple times that Iran is complying with the deal.

Trump: Even if Iran complies, it can "be on the verge of a nuclear breakout in just a short period of time"

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action extended Iran's breakout time to more than a year, meaning Iran would be at least a year away from being able to produce enough enriched material for a nuclear weapon as long as it complied with the deal.

Before the deal and its restrictions on Iran's nuclear enrichment activities, Iran's breakout time was estimated to be a matter of months.

Trump may believe a year is a "short period of time," but the deal did extend Iran's breakout time. If Iran now pulls out because of the US' violation of the deal, it could begin to shorten its breakout time.

Trump's bigger issue is with one particular sunset provision, which only capped Iran's nuclear activities for 10 to 25 years after the deal came into force.

"The deal's sunset provisions are totally unacceptable. If I allowed this deal to stand, there would soon be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Everyone would want their weapons ready by the time Iran had theirs," Trump said on Tuesday.

Iran deal inspections provisions are inadequate

The President also claimed that "the deal's inspection provisions lack adequate mechanisms to prevent, detect and punish cheating and don't even have the unqualified right to inspect many important locations, including military facilities."

Whether the deal's inspections mechanism is sufficient is a matter of debate among nuclear experts and supporters and opponents of the Iran deal alike. Supporters of the deal have argued that the inspections regimen set up is among the most rigorous ever brokered.

But inspections of military sites have been a key point of contention -- with Iran calling the sites "off limits" and rejecting past requests to inspect its military bases. Under the agreement, the IAEA can request access to military sites if it shows the basis for its concern. But critics say that process allows for a problematically long window of time 24 days before any inspection could take place.

Trump: Iran deal doesn't address Iran's ballistic missiles, destabilizing activities

Trump railed against the deal on Tuesday for failing "to address the regime's development of ballistic missiles that could deliver nuclear warheads."

"Finally, the deal does nothing to constrain Iran's destabilizing activities, including its support for terrorism. Since the agreement, Iran's bloody ambitions have grown only more brazen," Trump said.

On these two points, Trump is right. The Iran deal was all about the country's nuclear program and the lifting of sanctions related to that program.

The deal didn't address Iran's development of ballistic missiles or its support for US-designated terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah, in the region.

Huntsville
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 89°
Florence
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 89°
Fayetteville
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 85°
Decatur
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 88°
Scottsboro
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 94°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 94827

Reported Deaths: 1674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12743242
Mobile9565206
Montgomery6521148
Madison525030
Tuscaloosa410371
Unassigned347461
Baldwin344323
Shelby320133
Marshall309034
Lee262844
Morgan233017
Etowah207530
DeKalb177113
Calhoun170413
Elmore169438
Walker150264
Houston136412
Russell13422
Dallas131123
St. Clair131016
Limestone128413
Franklin125820
Cullman120112
Colbert115613
Lauderdale113917
Autauga106521
Escambia105416
Talladega98613
Jackson9454
Tallapoosa84979
Chambers83538
Dale82323
Blount7743
Chilton7676
Butler75935
Coffee7475
Covington72620
Pike6907
Barbour5695
Lowndes56724
Marion56724
Marengo54614
Clarke4969
Hale46726
Bullock45411
Winston44411
Perry4364
Wilcox41810
Bibb4164
Monroe4154
Randolph39410
Pickens3849
Conecuh38210
Sumter36218
Lawrence3441
Macon33213
Washington32712
Crenshaw3133
Choctaw27912
Cherokee2637
Geneva2550
Henry2523
Greene25011
Clay2495
Lamar2172
Fayette1985
Cleburne1251
Coosa1012
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 118782

Reported Deaths: 1206
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby22635302
Davidson20185212
Rutherford640453
Hamilton597052
Knox440737
Williamson344825
Sumner336573
Unassigned30809
Out of TN284216
Wilson222923
Montgomery188313
Bradley187412
Sevier18307
Putnam171717
Trousdale15826
Robertson152119
Hamblen137214
Blount124310
Washington12002
Tipton11839
Maury11787
Madison102417
Sullivan93312
Bedford90811
Hardeman87517
Macon85613
Lake7820
Loudon7183
Bledsoe6901
Fayette6708
Gibson6705
Anderson6686
Dickson6662
Dyer6197
Cheatham5737
Jefferson5523
Henderson5472
Lawrence5346
McMinn52420
Rhea5221
Obion5194
Coffee5073
Warren4984
Carter4976
Lauderdale4878
Haywood4576
Hardin4538
Cocke4502
Greene4477
Smith4464
Hawkins4357
Roane4332
Cumberland4126
Monroe4079
Weakley3974
Giles36913
McNairy3665
DeKalb3392
Franklin3134
Carroll2903
Marshall2833
Lincoln2761
White2735
Henry2660
Crockett2604
Johnson2580
Claiborne2550
Hickman2530
Campbell2391
Wayne2252
Marion2164
Chester2112
Decatur1983
Polk1953
Grainger1940
Overton1751
Unicoi1560
Union1500
Cannon1420
Benton1391
Humphreys1203
Jackson1181
Scott1180
Grundy1112
Morgan1031
Sequatchie1020
Meigs1010
Fentress880
Hancock781
Perry770
Clay740
Stewart730
Lewis711
Moore600
Houston570
Van Buren350
Pickett311

Community Events