President Trump announced Tuesday the United States would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, drawing applause from some who said the deal endangered Israel and the world, and criticism from others who said the president was harming international relations.
The deal had been reached in 2015 by President Obama and world leaders but was never ratified by the U.S. Senate.
“In theory, the so-called Iran deal was supposed to protect the United States and our allies from the lunacy of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a weapon that will only endanger the survival of the Iranian regime,” Trump said. “In fact, the deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium and — over time — reach the brink of a nuclear breakout.”
The “one-sided” deal, he added, lifted “crippling economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for very weak limits on the regime’s nuclear activity, and no limits at all on its other malign behavior, including its sinister activities in Syria, Yemen and other places all around the world.”
Further, Trump called Iran the “leading state sponsor of terror.”
Opponents of the deal pointed out that according to the agreement, Iran would have up to 24 days before inspectors were allowed at “non-designated sites” – that is, sites that are not declared nuclear sites. Although inspectors would be allowed immediate access to declared sites, negotiations would have to take place to access the non-designated sites, a time period that could span 24 days. Some said nuclear evidence could be hidden during that time.
Nearly 200 generals and admirals sent Congress a letter in 2015 urging it to oppose the deal.
“Removing sanctions on Iran and releasing billions of dollars to its regime over the next ten years is inimical to the security of Israel and the Middle East,” the letterstated, adding that the agreement would “threaten the national security and vital interests of the United States.”
Within the past week, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented evidence he said showed Iran had lied about its nuclear program.
Obama released a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying that without the deal, “the United States could eventually be left with a losing choice between a nuclear-armed Iran or another war in the Middle East.”
“If the constraints on Iran’s nuclear program under the [deal] are lost, we could be hastening the day when we are faced with the choice between living with that threat, or going to war to prevent it,” Obama said.
Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel and president of Christians in Defense of Israel, applauded Trump’s move:
“The nuclear deal gave Iran, the world’s foremost state-sponsor of terrorism, a clear path to an atomic arsenal,” Staver said. “This deal should never have been concluded. President Trump’s decision reverses Obama’s failed foreign policy and protects Americans and our closest allies in the Middle-East from this malicious regime.”