US Congressional Democrats have blasted President Donald Trump’s decision not to recertify the 2015 multinational nuclear agreement with Iran, saying the new policy is “a grave mistake” that endangers US interests and undermines American credibility.
Trump’s decision Friday not to certify the deal for a third time immediately provoked the dismay of Democrats and signaled they would remain committed to protecting the deal that the US agreed to when it was struck in 2015 with Iran and other world powers.
“President Trump’s refusal to recertify is a grave mistake that threatens America’s security and our credibility at a very critical time,” House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said at a news conference Friday afternoon.
Pelosi, who represents California’s 12th congressional district, argued that Iran has been in compliance with the agreement. “The president, I think, is being frivolous with this,” she said.
Senator Ben Cardin, a ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, lashed out at Trump’s decision, calling it “dangerous.”
“This is one of the most dangerous and consequential decisions the President has made imperiling US national security.”
‘More about campaign promises’
Senator Bob Menendez, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that while he opposed the original nuclear, he believes Trump’s decision to not recertify it is “more about campaign promises and less about our national security interests.”
“Not certifying now does nothing but create uncertainty among our allies and embolden an already belligerent Iran,” Menendez, one of most outspoken critics of Iran in the Senate, said in a statement.
Senator Chris Murphy said a war could be triggered in the Middle East or the Korean Peninsula if Trump terminates the deal.
“If the Iran agreement falls, war will become much more likely – both in the Middle East and on the Korean Peninsula – and American lives will be put at risk,” Murphy said in a statement on Friday.
It will ‘isolate’ US
Former US Vice President Joe Biden said Trump’s decision will “isolate” the US and “goes against reason and evidence.”
“Unilaterally putting the deal at risk does not isolate Iran,” Biden said in a statement posted on Facebook. “It isolates us.”
“This decision will cost us leverage. It will weaken our unity with our allies. It will damage our credibility,” Biden said in the extensive post.
Trump creating ‘international crisis’
Former Secretary of State John Kerry, who played a key negotiating role in the nuclear agreement, said Trump is “creating an international crisis” with his “dangerous” decision.
“It endangers America’s national security interests and those of our closest allies,” Kerry said.
Kerry called on members of Congress to stand in Trump’s way, saying that “the stakes are enormous for Congress.”
“That means rejecting president’s plan and the legislative maneuvers being contemplated that would unravel the agreement once and for all,” he said.
Defense Secretary James Mattis said at a Senate Armed Forces committee hearing this month that remaining in the Iran nuclear deal is in the best interest of US national security, something Biden cited in his post.
Trump said Friday that he has refused to recertify the nuclear agreement and warned he might ultimately terminate it, in defiance of other world powers and undermining a landmark victory of multilateral diplomacy.
Trump’s speech signaled a major shift in US policy and detailed a more confrontational stance toward Iran over its civilian nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Speaking from the White House, Trump said he will choose not to certify that Tehran is complying with the 2015 nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has recently reported that Iran is complying with the agreement.
Trump is required by a 2015 law known as the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) to certify every 90 days whether or not Iran is complying with the nuclear deal. He has certified the deal twice since coming to office.
If he argues that Iran is not in compliance, that could cause an American withdrawal from the international pact.
While Trump did not pull Washington out of the nuclear deal, he gave the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions against Tehran that were lifted under the pact.
Reimposing sanctions would put the US at odds with other signatories of the accord such as the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany, as well as the European Union.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry said earlier on Friday that Tehran has a “very broad” range of options for any breach of the JCPOA and would “end all its commitments in this regard if deemed necessary.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Trump’s speech against the Islamic Republic was nothing more than insults and delirious talk.