At a White House press conference with the French President, U.S. President Donald Trump issued a stern warning to Iran to never threaten the U.S. with nuclear weapons, or pay "a price like few countries have ever paid."
He also warned the Arab States that they are going to have to pay if the U.S. is going to protect them from Iran, saying "the United States is embarrassingly into the Middle East." Trump said states like Qatar, Kuwait, the U.A.E., and Saudi Arabia are "immensely wealthy" and "would not be there if it were not for the United States (and to a lesser extent, France)."
"They would not last a week," he said, implying that Iran would quickly seize dominance in the region if U.S. forces pulled out. Trump implied he wanted to make some kind of a larger regional deal with Iran, which backs military forces in Syria and Yemen and terrorist networks throughout the region. Trump is faced with a decision on May 12 whether or not to recertify the Iran deal made by President Obama.
"We have spent $7 trillion in the Middle East, and we have got nothing for it. Nothing. Less than nothing as far as I'm concerned," the president said. "And that is over an 18 year period."
The countries that are there, that you know all very well, are immensely wealthy and they will have to pay for this," he said. "We have spoken to them and they will pay for it."
Trump also said the Iran nuclear agreement "should never ever been made." "I blame Congress, and a lot of people for it," he said.
"No one knows what I am going to do on May the 12th," Trump said, referring to the next Iran deal deadline. "Although you, Mr. President [Macron], have a good idea but we shall see."
"If Iran threatens us in any way, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid."
PRESIDENT TRUMP: If I might add... the countries that are in the area, some of which are immensely wealthy, would not be there except for the United States and to a lesser extent, France. But they wouldn't be there except for the United States. They were not last a week. We are protecting them, and they have to now step up and pay for what is happening.
I don't think France or the United States should be liable for the tremendous cost. The United States is embarrassingly into the Middle East. As of a few months ago, as you heard me say before, and I don't think responsibility but I would be very embarrassed if I had to, $7 trillion.
And when we want to rebuild our infrastructure, everyone says we want to be careful with our money.
When we want to fix a highway or build schools and lots of other things, tunnels and bridges, they say no, let's be careful with our money.
And yet we have spent $7 trillion in the Middle East, and we have got nothing for it. Nothing. Less than nothing as far as I'm concerned. That is over an 18 year period.
The countries that are there, that you know all very well, are immensely wealthy and they will have to pay for this. I think the president and I agree very much on that, and they will. They will pay for it. We have spoken to them and they will pay for it.
The United States will not continue to pay, and [the Gulf States] will also put soldiers on the ground, which they are not doing. We will, in fact, bring lots of people home, and we will have a strong blockage to the Mediterranean, which to me is very important. Because if we don't you have Iran going right to the Mediterranean and we will not have that.
There is a chance, and no one knows what I am going to do on the 12th, although you, Mr. President, have a good idea, but we'll see. We shall see.
We will see, if I do what some people expect, whether or not it will be possible to do a new deal with solid foundations because this is a deal with decayed foundations, it's a bad deal. It's a bad structure. It is falling down. It should never ever been made. I blame Congress and a lot of people for it. It should never have been made.
We will see what happens on the 12th.
I will say, if Iran threatens us in any way they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid. Okay.