May 14 2018
President Trump Withdraws the United States From Flawed Deal
As expected, President Trump has withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal, following through on a promise he made earlier this year not to renew sanctions relief if the deal was left unchanged. The decision sends a clear message to the world that the United States will not stand by as Iran moves closer to its nuclear ambitions. The prospect of a nuclear Iran should be a nonstarter.
Deal Lacked Congressional Approval
I opposed the Iran deal when President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry brokered it in 2015. The agreement was deeply flawed, not least because of the “sunset clauses” that would incrementally phase out restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program. By 2031, all of those restrictions would be lifted, and Iran could proceed with the development of a nuclear weapon, violating the Non-Proliferation Treaty as it has done in the past. In the meantime, without further sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program, the rogue state could already have the vehicle it needs to launch a nuclear warhead.
Despite these major defects, the Obama Administration pushed forward with the deal without strong support in Congress. I voted for an amendment to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act that would have required, like a treaty, a two-thirds majority in the Senate to ratify the agreement. Bipartisan support could have improved the deal and strengthened the negotiations. Ultimately, the amendment failed and we were unable to block President Obama from signing the agreement. I joined 46 of my colleagues in sending a letter to Iran’s leaders, reminding them that any agreement without congressional approval could easily be reversed by the next administration.
Suffering Continues Despite Sanctions Relief
As the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, Iran does not hide its malign agenda. The nuclear deal released over $100 billion in frozen assets, but the people of Iran continue to suffer as they have for the past 40 years. Their national currency is collapsing, and local workers are striking. Instead of fostering an economic resurgence, Iran has increased its military budget by 30 percent and continues to support terrorist organizations in the Middle East.
After President Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, several of our allies in the Middle East, including Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, quickly expressed their support. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the withdrawal a “bold decision.” In a tweet, Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, wrote that President Trump’s decision was “the correct one.”
What Happens Next
It is my hope that ending our participation in a bad deal will pave the way for a better one, in which we work with our allies to craft a more comprehensive agreement. Such an agreement should not have “sunset clauses,” should address Iran’s ballistic missile program, and should subject Iran to “anytime, anywhere” inspections. Instead of proving it has nothing to hide, Iran has blocked international inspectors from military locations.
Simply put, any agreement made with Iran should not skirt around its history of bad behavior. The regime’s radical religious leaders have repeatedly condemned the United States and sought to create instability across the Middle East. The world is not made safer by a nuclear Iran, and our goal should not be to delay these destructive ambitions but to stop them altogether.