JERUSALEM/WASHINGTON (EJP)— "I congratulate President Trump for his courageous decision today. He boldly confronted Iran's terrorist regime," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a reaction to US President Donald Trump’s decision not to recertify the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
While not withdrawing from the deal for now, in a speech on Friday, Trump announced a new tougher policy towards Tehran as he left the US Congress to decide whether or not to impose new sanctions against Iran.
The deal, known, as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed between between Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.
"If the Iran deal is left unchanged, one thing is absolutely certain, in a few years' time, the world's foremost terrorist regime will have an arsenal of nuclear weapons and that's tremendous danger for our collective future," said Netanyahu.
"President Trump has just created an opportunity to fix this bad deal. To roll back Iran's aggression and to confront its criminal support of terrorism," Netanyahu continued.
"That's why Israel embraces this opportunity. And that's why every responsible government, and any person concerned with the peace and security of the world, should do so as well," he stressed.
In his televised speech from the White House, President Trump said he was launching a tougher strategy to check Iran’s “fanatical regime” and warned that 2015’s landmark international nuclear deal could be terminated at any time.
“We cannot and will not make this certification,” he said. “We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.”
He also announced measures to counter Tehran’s “aggression” in a series of Middle East conflicts by ordering tougher sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, a key instrument of Tehran’s military and foreign policy that Trump described as “the Iranian Supreme Leader’s corrupt personal terror force and militia,” and on its ballistic missile program.
He said he was “authorizing the Treasury Department to further sanction the entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for its support for terrorism and to apply sanctions to its officials, agents, and affiliates.”
The Guard was formed out of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution as a force meant to protect its Shiite-cleric-overseen government and later enshrined in its constitution.
It operated parallel to the country’s regular armed forces, growing in prominence and power during a long and ruinous war with Iraq in the 1980s.
Apart from running swaths of Iran’s economy and Iran’s ballistic program, the corps is also accused of guiding bellicose proxies from Hezbollah in Lebanon, to the Huthi in Yemen to Shiite militia in Iraq and Syria.
In March 2016, the Guard launched a ballistic missile bearing the words “Israel must be wiped out” in Hebrew. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticized the Guard over such missile launches during his re-election campaign this year, but has since embraced the group.