“Well, after years of saying he was gonna do it, he did it. And today, he told us he was doing it.”
That’s how Late Show host Stephen Colbert opened his monologue Tuesday evening. The comedian was, of course, talking about President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. was backing out of the Iran nuclear deal—against the apparent wishes of his generals.
“I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal… The United States no longer makes empty threats. When I make promises, I keep them,” said Trump.
“Well, my lawyer keeps them on my behalf but I pay him back eventually,” cracked Colbert. “And what are you talking about? What are you talking about?! You literally just backed out of an American promise. That’s like saying, ‘I’m no longer denying my alcoholism. Let’s drink to that!’”
As I previously wrote, “For the uninitiated, the Iran nuclear deal was struck in 2015 between Iran and the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, France, and Germany, and was championed by the Obama administration as its biggest foreign-policy success. In exchange for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions (allowing the oil-rich country to sell it on the open market), the six countries received a requirement for Iran not to enrich their uranium to weapons-grade for 15 years (that is, it can’t be enriched above 3.67 percent, significantly less than the 90 percent purity that is needed for weapons-grade); to reduce its number of operating nuclear centrifuges from 19,000 to 5,060 of the oldest ones; and to increase the time it would take to make a bomb from a few months to a year.”
During his pullout announcement, President Trump said Iran had “misrepresented” fulfilling its end of the deal—without providing any hard evidence to back up the claim. In fact, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief, Iran was holding up its end of the bargain.
“Nobody wants Iran to have nuclear weapons—that’s what the treaty was supposed to stop. But Trump doesn’t think the deal went far enough,” said Colbert, citing Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that the deal would allow Iran to “reach the brink of a nuclear breakout.”
Colbert continued: “So, with these restrictions Iran could possibly, eventually develop a nuke, and the solution is to… lift the restrictions so they can start immediately? That’s what a bad step-parent does. ‘Look, buddy, I know your old Dad looked the other way when you went out and partied with your friends. Well, I am zero tolerance. You are grounded, mister! Your friends are locked in the basement with the liquor and the weed.’”
Trump also said he objected to a part of the deal known as the “sunset clause,” whereby the restraints on Iran’s centrifuges go away after 10 years (though the participating countries would presumably attempt to renegotiate the deal before then).
“So, let me get this straight: Because the deal has an expiration date, he wants to kill it now?” asked Colbert. “It’s like saying, ‘Well, Billy, this hamster is eventually going to die in a couple of years, so we might as well flush Mr. Fluffers down the toilet now.’”