By Alana Abramson
May 8, 2018

Former President Barack Obama immediately criticized President Donald Trump’s announcement Tuesday that the United States would withdraw from the Iranian Nuclear deal – one of Obama’s signature foreign policy achievements – as misguided and irresponsible.

“In a democracy, there will always be changes in policies and priorities from one Administration to the next. But the consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to risks eroding America’s credibility, and puts us at odds with the world’s major powers,” Obama in a rare and lengthy statement Tuesday, a little over an hour after President Trump announced his decision.

Obama said that, contrary to Trump’s assertion that the agreement had emboldened Iran, evidence shows Iran has weakened the country’s nuclear program and that Iran has complied with the stipulations. Leaving the program, Obama said, would heighten these risk factors, especially as President Trump prepares for an upcoming summit to discuss denuclearization with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and isolate America on the world stage.

Trump announced on Tuesday that he would withdraw the U.S. from the deal, which he called “defective to its core” and reinstate the sanctions against Iran that had been lifted as part of the agreement.

Obama rarely weighs in on the policy decisions of the Trump administration, but he has done so occasionally, primarily when it is designed to roll back his signature policies, like the Affordable Care Act or the Paris Climate agreements.

Read Obama’s full statement on Trump’s Iran decision below.

Write to Alana Abramson at Alana.Abramson@time.com.

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