WASHINGTON, DC – Republicans in the Senate and House praised President Trump’s decision on Friday to decertify the Iran nuclear deal and allow Congress to take on the matter.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ), who has been one of the president’s biggest critics, hailed his decision.
“For years, the Iranian regime has literally been getting away with murder,” he said in a statement. “I agree with the President that the deal is not in the vital national interests of the United States.”
Armed Services Committee senior member Jim Inhofe (R-OK) said, “The president’s action today marks a strong new beginning to America’s foreign policy – one where our allies trust us and our enemies respect us.”
Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) said Trump is “correct to decertify President Obama’s dangerous Iran Nuclear Deal because it is not in national security interests.”
And Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who is working on legislation to strengthen the nuclear deal, said Trump made the “right decision.”
“By not certifying it, President Trump has given Iran a wake-up call and redirected our Iran policy toward advancing U.S. interests and those of our allies,” he said.
Over on the House side, Republicans also hailed the move.
“President Trump has every right to decertify Iranian compliance with the JCPOA. Moreover, I applaud his efforts,” said House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ).
Republicans had criticized the Obama administration for leaving them out of the negotiating process of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for temporary limits to its nuclear program.
But Trump’s decision on Friday to decertify Iran’s compliance with the deal kicks the issue over to Congress – giving them 60 days to decide whether to re-impose sanctions and potentially blow up the deal on Iran or to do nothing and leave the deal intact.
The White House and Republicans are working on a third option, however – to impose new legislation that would strengthen the existing deal by creating new “trigger points” for sanctions to kick back in.
Those trigger points could include ballistic missile launches by Iran, a refusal to extend constraints on nuclear fuel production, or a determination by the U.S. intelligence community that Iran could reach a “breakout time” – or produce a nuclear weapon – in less than a year.
Republicans expressed eagerness to begin working on that legislation.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress on additional legislation to increase sanctions and other pressure to hold Iran accountable for its broader destructive behavior in the region,” McCain said. “I am also eager to collaborate with our partners and allies to revisit the most problematic provisions of the nuclear deal, and support a unified, forceful international front in the event that Iran materially breaches the terms of the agreement.”
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) said, “As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I look forward to considering legislation to address many of the issues the President raised in his speech today.”
“I look forward to working with the President, his administration and my colleagues in Congress to make meaningful, substantive changes to the Iranian Nuclear Agreement Review Act,” Inhofe added.
There were some Republicans who expressed doubts over whether the Iran deal could be altered, however.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), an Iran hawk and member of the Foreign Relations Committee, told Politico, “I’m generally skeptical of the ability to fix it. I hope I’m wrong. I’m concerned that continuing to adhere to the deal in any capacity has long-term consequences that would make things worse, not better.”
But, he said, he is “willing to be persuaded.”
House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) was also lukewarm, even though he said he initially opposed the deal.
“In my briefings from the International Atomic Energy Agency, it appears that Iran is materially complying with the provisions that require Iran abandon pursuit of the development of nuclear weapons,” he said. “After the President’s statements today, the international community and Congress must provide sufficient leverage for amending the agreement in ways that could ensure Iran never obtains nuclear weapons.”
House and Senate Democrats predictably slammed Trump’s decision, arguing it would leave the U.S. isolated.
“Unfortunately, this is just the latest example of President Trump alienating the U.S. from our partners and allies,” said Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee.
“President Trump’s refusal to certify Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action only serves to undermine America’s credibility and isolate us from the rest of the global community,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).
But Perdue argued that the opposite was true.
“Decertification gives the U.S. significant leverage at the negotiating table to get the international community on board to tackle non-nuclear issues and to address shortcomings in the deal,” he said.
“President Trump is doing what the last administration refused to do: reengaging with the rest of the world, while asserting American security interests,” he added.
Cotton, who is working on legislation with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN), said it would not conflict with the Iran deal upon passage.
“Instead, it would set conditions that halt Iran’s nuclear program and provide a window of time for firm diplomacy and pressure to work,” said a fact sheet explaining key provisions of the proposed legislation.
Trump did, however, threaten to terminate the deal altogether if the White House and Congress could not come up with legislation.
Some members of Congress indicated they would support that move.
“To pretend there’s a ‘deal’ worth making with the genocidal theocrats in Tehran is delusional,” Franks said:
Mr. Obama’s Iran Deal protected protocol to enrich uranium and produce plutonium on its own soil, paid them a $400 million ransom via cargo plane, freed up $100 billion for Iran to spend on exporting terrorism, and provided them a path to a nuclear weapon without having to violate the provisions of the Deal thanks to the sunset provisions.
“With that in mind, it’s not hard to see why the author of the Art of the Deal might want to retract this one.”
Newt Praises Trump’s Iran Speech as ‘Historic and Strategic’
President Trump is dismantling every last bit of Obama’s horrid foreign policy, and his latest move is decertifying the ghastly Iran deal.
Trump delivered yet another speech for the ages, pushing American strength and ending the Obama-era support of state sponsors of terror.
Newt Gingrich praised the speech, calling it historic and strategic.
We agree, Newt!
President Trump's speech on Iran was historic:setting new strategic goal:stopping leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) October 13, 2017
Teamwork of Mattis, Tillerson, McMaster, Kelly, Mnuchin gave President Trump a powerful, sophisticated strategy for dealing with Iran
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) October 13, 2017
Experts on Decertifying Iran Deal: Trump Should Have Killed Terror-Fueling Agreement
WASHINGTON, DC — Some experts welcomed U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, but they said the American leader should have gone a step further and killed the agreement, which some analysts argue has strengthened Tehran’s narco-terror proxy Hezbollah and its hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
While some analysts praised Trump for decertifying the Iran deal, others stressed that the president did not go far enough.
“The Iran deal was, as the president said, a bad deal, possibly the worse in modern history. We should kill it. That’s what I recommended the president do, but I’m happy to see him decertify it,” Dr. Sebastian Gorka, a former deputy assistant to President Trump, told Breitbart News.
“As far as the Iran deal goes, I am very pleased to see that he, as expected, decided not to recertify the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action],” Clare Lopez, the president of research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy, told Breitbart News. “I would like to see him go further, of course, and the reason is that Iran is in blatant breach of the JCPOA.”
Lopez pointed out that President Trump does not need Congress to ditch the nuclear deal, which she argues has failed to prevent Iran from further developing its nuclear program.
She said that Iran has made sure to keep its “clandestine nuclear program” running since 1988, adding, “I sincerely hope the president is planning to end the deal because it does not affect Iran’s clandestine nuclear program.”
“They have not stopped. They have not slowed. They have not paused the illicit clandestine nuclear programs,” she continued, referring to Tehran’s nuclear activities. “The JCPOA has no provisions for inspecting the off-limit military sites, which are the places where Iran is developing its clandestine nuclear weapons.”
Gorka and Lopez noted that Trump should have seized the opportunity to officially label the IRCG a terrorist group when announcing his administration’s new Iran strategy.
“The president should have decertified the Iran deal and at the same time designate the IRCG a terrorist group,” declared Gorka. “The IRGC is a menace and a threat to our national interest and the safety of our allies and partners.”
During his speech, Trump noted that the IRGC poses a terrorist threat to the United States, “but then he held back,” noted Lopez.
However, Gorka added, “I think the statement today makes the [terrorism] designation [for the Revolutionary Guards] more likely.”
The president did say that his administration will impose “tough sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps” as part of his Iran strategy.
“The Revolutionary Guard is the Iranian supreme leader’s corrupt personal terror force and militia. It has hijacked large portions of Iran’s economy and seized massive religious endowments to fund war and terror abroad,” he explained. “This includes arming the Syrian dictator, supplying proxies and partners with missiles and weapons to attack civilians in the region, and even plotting to bomb a popular restaurant right here in Washington, DC.”
The U.S. military has long warned against the presence of Iran and its proxies — Hezbollah and IRGC —throughout the Western Hemisphere, including the United States.
Various officials from within the Iranian government and IRGC recently threatened to attack American troops if Trump deems the Guards as a terrorist organization.
Dr. Gorka acknowledged that the billions of dollars in unfrozen assets released to Iran as part of the Iran deal have strengthened Iran’s narco-terrorist proxy Hezbollah and the IRGC.
In 2015, both Gen. Martin Dempsey, Obama’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the former president himself conceded that Iran would use nuclear deal-linked sanctions relief money to proliferate terrorist activity.
Along with the millions of dollars generated from the drug trade and other illicit activity in Latin America, the sanction relief funds have allowed Hezbollah to establish “operational cells all over the United States,” declared Lopez, echoing the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center (NCC).
The nefarious activities of state-sponsor of terrorism Iran “actually got worse” under the 2015 nuclear deal, said Dr. Gorka.
Dr. Gorka stated that he and former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who returned as executive chairman of Breitbart News in August, pushed against certifying the Iran deal earlier this year.
Meanwhile, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin advocated for certification, he added, noting that President Trump was angry about having to recertify a deal he had repeatedly denounced as one of the worst in history.
The left-leaning Center for American Progress (CAP) think-tank did not respond to Breitbart News’s requests for comment on Trump’s decertifying the Iran deal.