Trump Threatens Iran After Tehran Issues Warning to Washington

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived at the White House this week with a mission: to use his good relationship with President Donald Trump to save the Iran nuclear deal.

During the visit, the two leaders appeared to enjoy each other’s company. They were seen holding hands in front of the White House, and Trump dusted dandruff affectionately off of Macron’s suit during a press briefing. 

“We have a very special relationship. In fact, I’ll get that little piece of dandruff off," Trump said to Macron in front of the cameras. "We have to make him perfect—he is perfect.”

Yet Macron’s solid rapport with Trump does not appear to have persuaded the president to hold on to the current Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“This is a deal with decayed foundations. It’s a bad deal, it’s a bad structure and should have never, ever been made,” Trump said as Macron stood next to him, looking visibly uncomfortable. "If Iran threatens us in any way, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid."

On May 12, Trump will decide whether to restore sanctions on Iran or to waive them. France and allies Germany and the United Kingdom have been urging Trump not to impose sanctions on Iran again, a decision that would destroy the terms of the nuclear deal and give Tehran the green light to once again start developing the technology to make nuclear weapons.

The Trump administration and congressional Republicans would like to make several key changes to the Iran nuclear deal, which was negotiated in 2015 under the Obama administration. For example, they want Tehran to be prohibited from testing ballistic missiles under the agreement.

But the deal was only reached after years of tough negotiations, and there is no guarantee that Iran will agree to renegotiate the terms. U.S. allies argue that an imperfect deal is better than no deal, since scrapping the agreement could lead to a nuclear-armed Iran.

Also on Tuesday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani warned that there would be serious consequences if Trump decided to scrap the deal.

“I am telling those in the White House that if they do not live up to their commitments, the Iranian government will react firmly," he said in the lead up to Macron’s White House visit. "If anyone betrays the deal, they should know that they would face severe consequences.”

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