U.S. nuclear pullout to heighten conflict with Iran

Li Jiayao

by Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, May 9 (Xinhua) -- After U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal, some experts predict his move will lead to a heightened U.S.-Iran tensions.

"There definitely will be more conflict between the U.S. and Iran," Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West told Xinhua.

After Trump on Tuesday announced he would pull out of the Iran nukes deal, Iran's supreme leader on Wednesday blasted the U.S. president over the move, and the Islamic Republic's lawmakers lit a paper U.S. flag on fire inside their parliament building, amid shouts of "Death to America!" from lawmakers, global media reported.

The 2015 nukes deal came following years of U.S. accusations that Iran was developing nuclear weapons; Tehran called its program peaceful. Under the agreement, Iran agreed to limit nuclear activities in exchange for ending sanctions that wrecked the nation's economy.

In response to the U.S. withdrawal from the deal, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday said Trump had made some "silly and superficial comments," according to global news outlets. "He threatened the regime and the people ... Mr. Trump I tell you on behalf of the Iranian people: You've made a mistake."

Some news outlets said the Iranian government's anger mirrored widespread fury in the Islamic Republic over the U.S. President's decision.

The sanctions, which had been lifted under the 2015 accord, wreaked havoc on Iran's economy, causing widespread unemployment.

"The Trump administration plans to impose additional sanctions on Iran that will make it more difficult for it to trade with other countries," West said.

"That will infuriate the Iranians and lead to some form of retaliation. There will be angry words and angry actions between the two countries," West said of the two nations.

"The situation could escalate into far more serious confrontations," West said.

Moreover, some analysts argued that Trump has little interest in easing tensions with Iran, given that Washington's main Mideast allies are also enemies of Iran.

"His closest allies in the Mid East, Israel and Saudi Arabia, are major enemies of Iran and are encouraging Trump to be very tough," West said.

For his part, Trump on Wednesday warned that Iran would face "severe consequences" if it re-started its nuclear program.



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