Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders (Excerpts)

May 9, 2018

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

MS. SANDERS:  Good afternoon.

Q    Good afternoon.

MS. SANDERS:  Only got one.  This morning, the families of the three Americans detained in North Korea received the news that they have long been hoping for: Their loved ones will be coming home.

The President views this as a positive gesture and a step in the right direction from the North Korean leader.  However, total denuclearization will remain the top priority.


Q    May I ask you one more question, Sarah?  Just on a separate subject, following up on the Iran announcement yesterday from the President.  The Europeans are working hard now to keep that deal alive, despite the United States being pulled out.  Can you say, will the White House ensure that European companies who trade with Iran will not suffer the sanctions that the United States is going to put back on?

MS. SANDERS:  The sanctions that were in place prior to the deal will go back into place.  But for the specifics — I know there’s a wind-down period — for specifics on any particular company, I would refer you to the Department of Treasury.


Q    Sarah, Saudi Arabia said that they would pursue a nuclear weapons program if Iran were to pursue a nuclear weapons program.  Would they have the administration’s support in the event that that occurred?

MS. SANDERS:  Right now, I don’t know that we have a specific policy announcement on that front, but I can tell you that we are very committed to making sure that Iran does not have nuclear weapons.


Q    Sarah, thank you.  The President said today — about Iran, he said, “We’ll see how we do with Iran.  Probably, we won’t do [very] well with them but, that’s okay.”  Does the President feel as if he can negotiate with Iran going forward?  Or is he resigned to the fact that these two parties might be so far apart on a potential new deal going forward?

MS. SANDERS:  As the President said yesterday, he would like to see something happen, but we are 100 percent committed to making sure that Iran does not have nuclear weapons.  And that’s — until we see that happen, we’re going to continue to put maximum pressure, enormous sanctions on them.

All of the sanctions that were in place before the deal are back in place, and we are preparing to add additional sanctions that may come as early as next week.