Rep. Frankel Opposes Trump’s Decision to Decertify Iran Nuclear Deal
Washington, October 13, 2017
Washington, DC -- Representative Lois Frankel (FL-21) opposes President Donald Trump’s decision to withhold certification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran nuclear agreement. The JCPOA must be re-certified by the President every three months under existing U.S. law. Today’s decision begins a 60-day window for Congress to consider re-imposing JCPOA-related sanctions on Iran.
“President Trump’s decision to withhold certification of the JCPOA is a manufactured crisis. This dangerous action defies the counsel of his national security team, isolates America from our closest allies, risks provoking an Iranian race to a nuclear weapon, and undermines potential nuclear negotiations with North Korea. Rather than igniting an international crisis, President Trump should rigorously enforce the JCPOA and hold Iran accountable for its support of terrorism, human rights violations and ballistic missile program by enacting measures outside of the pact.
In 2015, I opposed the Iran nuclear agreement because I felt it would legitimize Iran’s nuclear program after 15 years and give Iran access to billions of dollars without a commitment to cease its terrorist activity. These concerns remain. Moreover, since the adoption of the agreement, Iran has increased its destabilizing activities in the region, including ballistic missile testing, sponsorship of terrorism, propping up the Assad regime in Syria, and arming Hezbollah.
With that said, Iran has already received billions of dollars in previously frozen assets as a result of the JCPOA and there is no credible evidence that it is in violation of its requirements. The International Atomic Energy Agency has continuously confirmed Iranian technical compliance with the agreement. Our European allies agree. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak warned that if the U.S. were to pull out of the deal, it would give Tehran a pretext to resume its race to a nuclear capability. The President’s own national security team has urged him not to withdraw.
Donald Trump is wrong to believe that we have leverage to bring the parties back to the table to negotiate a better deal. Instead, by turning our backs on a multilateral agreement, we send a chilling message about the United States’ willingness to honor its commitments, throwing into question our reliability. We can’t afford such a dangerous gamble, especially when tensions with nuclear-armed North Korea are at an all-time high. Today’s action undermines the possibility, however unlikely, for a diplomatic approach to this ongoing crisis.
Mr. Trump's reckless decision leaves Congress to decide whether the U.S. will reimpose JCPOA-related sanctions on Iran. If Congress were to take such action, the deal would likely collapse. Iran would walk away with the upper hand, leaving them an unobstructed path to race toward nuclear weapons. The consequences for peace and security in the Middle East would be catastrophic, and would put our greatest ally Israel at grave risk. We would lose the mantle of leadership in the international community.
An issue of such seminal national security importance should not be co-opted to keep a campaign promise. Our fundamental objective should remain the same today as it was two years ago: Iran should never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon. I call on Congress to refrain from reimposing JCPOA-related sanctions that would blow apart the deal. Instead, we must rigorously enforce it and work with our allies to push back against destabilizing Iranian behavior.”