US President Donald Trump says Iran will not acquire nuclear weapons amid speculation that he will pull out of the nuclear deal reached between Tehran and the P5+1 group in 2015.
Trump made the remarks at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington on Friday.
The president said that the US will ensure Iran will not get close to nuclear weapons, a goal Tehran has always denied pursuing.
“I don’t talk about whether or not I would use military force…,but I can tell you this, they will not be doing nuclear weapons. That I can tell you. OK? They are not going to be doing nuclear weapons. You can bank on it.”
Meanwhile, Merkel called the deal “a first step that has contributed to slowing down their activities in this particular respect,” but added that she will continue to be in very close talks with the US over the issue.
“Europe and the United States ought to be in lock step on this,” she added.
Trump has been a vociferous critic of the agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), calling it the “worst deal ever” and even threatened to tear it up.
Back in January, he said he was extending the sanctions relief on Iran for the last time, giving the European signatories a May 12 deadline to fix what he claimed “flaws” in the agreement or he would refuse to waive those bans.
Iran insists there is no way it will renegotiate the nuclear pact, which was endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231 in 2015.
During a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, Trump again reiterated his hostile stance on the JCPOA, describing it as a “bad” deal “with decayed foundations,” noting, “Nobody knows what I’m going to do on the 12th.”
US to continue pressure on North Korea: Trump
Elsewhere in his remarks, Trump said that he would keep pressure on North Korea ahead of his own unprecedented meeting with its leader Kim Jong Un.
This comes as the North Korean leader and the South’s President Moon Jae-in met on Friday and held a historic summit at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone.
The two leaders agreed to work with the US and China this year to declare an official end to the 1950s Korean War and establish “permanent” and “solid” peace on the Korean peninsula.
Trump, who had earlier raised expectations that his meeting with Kim will yield tangible results, expressed hope that the meeting would be productive.
The president, however, added: “We will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations. Maximum pressure will continue until denuclearization occurs.”
Meanwhile, China hailed the two Korean leaders for engaging in the landmark meeting, describing their handshake at their borderline as “historic moment.”
Trump wants ‘reciprocal’ trade relationship with EU
Trump also talked about a possible trade deal between the US and the European Union, saying he wants a “reciprocal” trade relationship with Germany and other European nations.
“We need a reciprocal relationship, which we don’t have… We’re working on it and we want to make it more fair and the chancellor wants to make it more fair,” Trump said.
He fueled concerns of a potential trade war on March 8 when he officially announced steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, but exempted Canada and Mexico.
Now, with Trump poised to impose tariffs on steel soon that would impact European exports, Merkel said the decision whether to exempt the EU is in his hands.
“The president will decide. That’s very clear,” she said. “We had an exchange of views. The decision lies with the president.”
In March, Trump renewed his demand that EU countries halt trade barriers to American products in order to spare his EU allies new tariffs on steel and aluminum.
“The European Union, wonderful countries who treat the US very badly on trade, are complaining about the tariffs on Steel & Aluminum,” Trump tweeted.