President Trump on Thursday criticized the Iranian nuclear deal just day after his secretary of state certified that Iran was complying with the terms of the agreement, calling it “terrible” and “as bad as I’ve ever seen negotiated.”
“As far as Iran is concerned, I think they are doing a tremendous disservice to an agreement that was signed,” Trump said. “It was a terrible agreement, it shouldn’t have been signed, it shouldn’t have been negotiated the way it was negotiated. I’m all for agreements, but that was a bad one, as bad as I’ve ever seen negotiated.”
The president’s comments came in a nearly 20-minute news conference Thursday afternoon with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, with Trump weighing in on several global trouble spots, including Iran, North Korea and Libya.
“Iran has not lived up to the spirit of the agreement, and they have to do that, they have to do that,” the president said.
Asked whether Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, was mentally unstable, Trump demurred.
“I can’t answer your question on stability,” he said. “I hope the answer is a positive one, not a negative one. But, hopefully, that will be something that gets taken care of.”
The president also repeated his calls for China to play a larger role in helping pressure North Korea, a dictatorship whose nuclear weapons program has caused deep consternation around the world and created special tension with the United States.
Trump said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping have a strong relationship of mutual respect — while noting that he told Xi that he plans to use trade negotiations as a bargaining chip to force China to engage more on pushing North Korea to limit it nuclear ambitions.
“I actually told him, I said, ‘You’ll make a much better deal on trade if you get rid of this menace or doing something about the menace of North Korea, because that’s what it is, it’s a menace right now,” he said. “So we’ll see what happens.”
And shortly after the Italian prime minister said that a U.S. role in Libya was critical, Trump, in response to a question about whether he believes his administration should play a part in helping to stabilize Libya, said bluntly, “I do not see a role in Libya.”
“I think the United States has, right now, enough roles,” he said. “We’re in a role everywhere, so I do not see that.”
But, he added, “I do see a role in getting rid of ISIS.” ISIS is an alternative acronym for the Islamic State militant group.
“It’s a horrible thing to say, but we have no choice and we are effectively ridding the world of ISIS,” Trump said. “I see that as a primary role, and that’s what we’re going to do, whether it’s in Iraq or in Libya or anywhere else, and that role will come to an end at a certain point and we’ll be able to go back home and rebuild our country, which is what I want to do.”