John Bolton Says There's 'No Reason' for Iran to Walk Away From Nuclear Deal After U.S. Did Just That

President Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday that there was "no reason" for Iran to walk away from its commitments laid out in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, despite the U.S. doing just that last year.

Speaking to journalists in Abu Dhabi, Bolton addressed Tehran's announcement earlier this month that it would resume enriching uranium closer to weapons levels if international leaders did not take stronger steps to preserve their end of the 2015 nuclear agreement.

"There's no reason for them to do any of that unless that's part of an effort to reduce the breakout time to produce nuclear weapons," the top Trump adviser said. "That's a very serious issue if they continue to do that," he warned.

GettyImages-1143572937
National Security Adviser John Bolton listens while President Donald Trump speaks to the press at the White House on May 13 in Washington, D.C. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Under the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement, Iran agreed to reduce its uranium enrichment and allow inspectors to monitor key sites throughout the country in exchange for sanctions relief and international investment. Germany, France, the U.K., the European Union, Russia, China and the U.S.—under the leadership of former President Barack Obama—all signed the international accord with the Persian Gulf nation, and the United Nations' nuclear watchdog consistently found that Iran remained in compliance with the treaty. U.S. intelligence leaders have also said that the agreement worked effectively to curb Tehran's nuclear capabilities.

But Trump had long been critical of the Obama-era agreement and officially announced the U.S. withdrawal from the treaty last May. His administration then moved to reimplement harsh sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic, attempting to reduce its oil exports to zero. That effort has been strongly criticized by the treaty's other signatories, with close European allies condemning the Trump administration's actions.

Although the other signatories have worked to preserve the JCPOA, the impact of renewed U.S. sanctions has taken a toll on Iran's economy. Tehran said earlier this month that it would begin stepping back from its commitments under the treaty if the other signatories did not increase their efforts to ensure the benefits promised in 2015 would come to fruition.

Iranian leaders have dismissed the possibility of any talks with the U.S. until Washington returns to compliance with the deal. President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, has said that the "road is not closed," but Iranian conservatives have taken a more hardline stance against the U.S.

GettyImages-1137853490
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a military parade surrounded by officers during a ceremony marking the country's annual army day in Tehran, Iran on April 18 STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

Meanwhile, fears of a military confrontation erupting between Tehran and Washington have increased in recent weeks. The Trump administration announced earlier this month that it had repositioned the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf in response to alleged threats from Tehran against U.S. and allied interests in the region. Trump also said last week that the U.S. plans to send 1,500 additional troops to the region to act as a deterrent.

Leaders in Iran have denied planning any attacks against the U.S. or its allies. Some American allies have also expressed skepticism about the Trump administration's accusation, while other critics in the U.S. have warned that Bolton and other officials may be fabricating evidence to push the country into war, as the administration of former President George W. Bush did prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

John Bolton Says There's 'No Reason' for Iran to Walk Away From Nuclear Deal After U.S. Did Just That | World