Donald Trump has called on the UK and other allies to abandon the Iran nuclear deal as he spoke in the aftermath of missile attacks on military bases housing American troops in Iraq.
The US president also said Iran “appears to be standing down” in a sign that tensions between the two countries could be calming.
At a press conference at the White House, Trump seemed intent on de-escalating the crisis, indicating that he would not retaliate militarily for the strikes.
But referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal, he said: “The very defective JCPOA expires shortly anyway and gives Iran a clear and quick path to nuclear breakout.
“Iran must abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism.
“The time has come for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China to recognise this reality.
“They must now break away from the remnants of the Iran deal – or JCPOA – and we must all work together towards making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place.”
Trump added no Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime and that Iran “appears to be standing down”.
Instead of a military response, he said the US would immediately put in place new economic sanctions “until Iran changes its behaviour”.
Trump’s call to break from the Iranian nuclear deal contrasts to Boris Johnson saying on Wednesday that the pact remains the best way to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
“It is our view that the JCPOA remains the best way of preventing nuclear proliferation in Iran, the best way of encouraging the Iranians not to develop a nuclear weapon,” the UK prime minister told parliament.
“We think that after this crisis has abated, which of course we sincerely hope it will, that way forward will remain. It is a shell that has currently been voided but it remains a shell into which we can put substance again.”
On Sunday, Iran said it would abandon limitations on enriching uranium, taking a further step back from commitments under the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal.
Trump’s press conference came after Iran struck back at the US for killing its most powerful military commander, firing a barrage of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi military bases that house American troops.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made clear that Iran’s missile strikes were in revenge for the US killing of Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleimani.
His death last week in an American drone strike in Baghdad prompted angry calls for vengeance and drew massive crowds of Iranians to the streets to mourn him.
Despite the heightened rhetoric, there were some indications soon after that there might not be more immediate retaliation by either side.
“All is well!” Trump tweeted shortly after the missile attacks.