Reacting to President Donald Trump's threat during a televised meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday that Iran will have "bigger problems than [it has] ever had" if it restarts its nuclear program, one expert urged Americans to "wake up" to the fact that Trump is "openly telegraphing" his desire to start a war with Iran by attacking the nuclear accord.
"This is more than a war of words. The president is setting us up for a very real military conflict."
—Trita Parsi, National Iranian American Council
"The president is setting up a dangerous catch-22 with Iran. Trump is threatening war if Iran restarts nuclear activities on one hand while he unravels the very agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran on the other," Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), said in a statement on Tuesday. "This is more than a war of words. The president is setting us up for a very real military conflict."
WAKE UP AMERICA!
Trump's about to start a war with #Iran and he's openly telegraphing it. He'll kill the #IranDeal (the deal that restricted Iran's program) and then threatens war if Iran restarts the program - which it'll only do if Trump kills the deal.
— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) April 24, 2018
Parsi's warning on the heels of Trump's meeting and press conference with Macron, who is attempting to persuade Trump to remain in the accord and vaguely suggesting that he wants to "pave the way for a new agreement."
During an earlier Oval Office press scrum with Macron on Tuesday, Trump continued to assail the nuclear accord as "insane" and blamed Iran for turmoil throughout the Middle East.
"What kind of deal is it when you don't talk about Yemen...Look at what they're doing in Iraq," Trump said, neglecting to mention the far larger and deadlier U.S. role in both of those nations. "You just take a look at what's happening in virtually any place in the Middle East, Iran is behind it."
There you have it, @realDonaldTrump is pulling out of the Iran deal & if they don’t listen to his demands, off to war we go.
His lifelong negotiating tactic has been, do what I want or I’ll sue.
No surprise, as President it’s do what I want or I’ll bomb. pic.twitter.com/hIp4ACOoVy
— UnsilentMajority (@The_UnSilent_) April 24, 2018
Iran, for its part, has not taken Trump's threats in silence.
Early Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned in a speech that "if anyone betrays the [nuclear] deal, they should know that they would face severe consequences."
In an interview with the Associated Press published shortly after Trump and Macron's press conference on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif added that Iran would "most likely" withdraw from the nuclear accord if Trump decides to reimpose sanctions on May 12 because "there won't be any deal for Iran to stay in."
"What the United States, what President Trump, has made the international community aware of is the fact that the United States is not a trustworthy, reliable negotiating partner," Zarif said. "They're prepared to take everything you've given, and then renege on the promises they have made in the deal."
Trump's continued belligerence toward Iran—which international experts agree has upheld its side of the nuclear accord—comes as his "war cabinet" is almost fully formed, with national security adviser John Bolton in place and warmonger Mike Pompeo on track to be confirmed as Secretary of State this week.
Following Trump's threats on Tuesday, Parsi of NIAC argued that the president should listen to the pleas of America's European allies to remain in the nuclear agreement in order to avert "catastrophe."
"The alternative would be an isolated America, an unchecked Iranian nuclear program, and an escalation towards war," Parsi warned.