World leader and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were quick to weigh in on Tuesday after President Trump announced his plan to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear accord.
The following is a roundup of some of the reaction.
Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Emmanuel Macron of France
“It is with regret and concern that we, the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom, take note of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States of America from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Together, we emphasize our continuing commitment to the J.C.P.O.A. This agreement remains important for our shared security.”
They added, “We urge the U.S. to ensure that the structures of the J.C.P.O.A. can remain intact, and to avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal. After engaging with the U.S. administration in a thorough manner over the past months, we call on the U.S. to do everything possible to preserve the gains for nuclear nonproliferation brought about by the J.C.P.O.A., by allowing for a continued enforcement of its main elements.
We encourage Iran to show restraint in response to the decision by the U.S.; Iran must continue to meet its own obligations under the deal, cooperating fully and in a timely manner with IAEA inspection requirements. The IAEA must be able to continue to carry out its long-term verification and monitoring program without restriction or hindrance. In turn, Iran should continue to receive the sanctions relief it is entitled to whilst it remains in compliance with the terms of the deal.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel
Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium
Federica Mogherini, the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy
“The European Union regrets today’s statement by the president of the United States on the nuclear deal with Iran [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, J.C.P.O.A.]. Should the U.S. reconsider this position, we would welcome it. The United States remain our closest partner and friend, and we will continue to work together on many other issues. As we have always said, the nuclear deal is not a bilateral agreement and it is not in the hands of any single country to terminate it unilaterally.”
She added, “I am particularly worried by the announcement of new sanctions. I will consult with all our partners in the coming hours and days to assess their implications. The European Union is determined to act in accordance with its security interests and to protect its economic investments.
The nuclear deal with Iran is the culmination of 12 years of diplomacy. It belongs to the entire international community. It has been working and it is delivering on its goal, which is guaranteeing that Iran doesn’t develop nuclear weapons. The European Union is determined to preserve it. We expect the rest of the international community to continue to do its part to guarantee that it continues to be fully implemented, for the sake of our own collective security.”
Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader
“The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action represented a deeply flawed agreement, which President Trump has determined is not in the national security interests of the United States. Iran’s malign behavior across the broader Middle East — support to proxies such as Shia militias within Iraq, Hezbollah, the Houthis in Yemen and militias inside of Syria, use of cyberattacks, support for terrorism and pursuit of an advanced ballistic missile program — must all be addressed in a wider regional effort.
Our European partners now have an opportunity to come back to the table with Secretary Pompeo and negotiate the best terms to create either a better agreement, or a maximum-pressure campaign against Iran. I share the objective and commitment made by the president that Iran should never be able to acquire or develop a nuclear weapon.”
Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin
“From the beginning, the Obama-era Iran deal was deeply flawed. Iran’s hostile actions since its signing have only reaffirmed that it remains dedicated to sowing instability in the region. The president’s announcement today is a strong statement that we can and must do better.
I have always believe the best course of action is to fix the deficiencies in the agreement. It is unfortunate that we could not reach an understanding with our European partners on a way to do that, but I am grateful to them for working with the United States toward that goal.
The president is right to insist that we hold Iran accountable both today and for the long-term. There will now be an implementation period for applying sanctions on Iran. During that time, it is my hope that the United States will continue to work with our allies to achieve consensus on addressing a range of destabilizing Iranian behavior — both nuclear and non-nuclear.”
Representative Mac Thornberry of Texas, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee
“I have no doubt that the J.C.P.O.A. was flawed and that for years Iran has been deceptive about its nuclear and other programs. My preference would have been to give our European allies a few more months to strengthen the deal, but now that the president has decided that the United States will withdraw, we must have two critical priorities. One is to further enhance our own military capabilities. The other is to strengthen our alliances. A strong, international effort is required to curtail Iran’s aggressive behavior in a number of areas.”
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee
“I’m glad that President Trump decided today to withdraw from the flawed Iran nuclear deal and impose crippling economic and financial sanctions against the Iranian regime. This agreement was so bad that bipartisan majorities in both chambers of Congress voted against it after the last administration refused to submit it as a legally binding treaty under the Constitution.”
He added, “After Israel’s recent revelations of Iran’s secret archive of nuclear weaponization plans, the American people deserve better than a bad deal that paves the Iranian terror regime’s path to nuclear weapons. And the Iranian people deserve better as they continue to suffer under the regime’s criminal corruption, economic mismanagement, and systemwide human rights abuses.”
Former President Barack Obama
“There are few issues more important to the security of the United States than the potential spread of nuclear weapons, or the potential for even more destructive war in the Middle East. That’s why the United States negotiated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (J.C.P.O.A.) in the first place.
The reality is clear. The J.C.P.O.A. is working — that is a view shared by our European allies, independent experts and the current U.S. secretary of defense. The J.C.P.O.A. is in America’s interest — it has significantly rolled back Iran’s nuclear program. And the J.C.P.O.A. is a model for what diplomacy can accomplish — its inspections and verification regime is precisely what the United States should be working to put in place with North Korea. Indeed, at a time when we are all rooting for diplomacy with North Korea to succeed, walking away from the J.C.P.O.A. risks losing a deal that accomplishes — with Iran — the very outcome that we are pursuing with the North Koreans.
That is why today’s announcement is so misguided. Walking away from the J.C.P.O.A. turns our back on America’s closest allies, and an agreement that our country’s leading diplomats, scientists and intelligence professionals negotiated. In a democracy, there will always be changes in policies and priorities from one administration to the next. But the consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to risks eroding America’s credibility, and puts us at odds with the world’s major powers.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee
Senator Mark R. Warner of Virginia, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee
“The president’s refusal to waive certain sanctions on Iran sets in motion the dismantling of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which has successfully prevented Iran from developing nuclear weapons. While the J.C.P.O.A. was far from perfect, by signing the agreement, Iran gave up 98 percent of its uranium stockpile, dismantled 2/3 of its centrifuges, rendered its heavy water nuclear reactor unusable and agreed to unprecedented inspections that provide critical insight into, and early warning about, any attempts by Iran to accelerate its nuclear program. Trump administration leaders, all parties to the agreement, and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is charged with its verification, have agreed that Iran has complied with its terms.
Simply withdrawing the United States from the J.C.P.O.A. will not benefit the American people and U.S. national security: It will only succeed in driving a wedge between us and our allies, whose help we need to enforce any future sanctions regime against Iran, and will effectively green light Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. Withdrawing from this agreement makes the United States, and the world, less secure.”
Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader
“The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is a great diplomatic achievement. Experts and our allies all agree that this landmark agreement has been successful in preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and even senior Trump Administration officials have confirmed that Iran has remained in compliance with the agreement. Yet, the president has chosen to utterly ignore that reality.”
She added, “This rash decision isolates America, not Iran. Our allies will hold up their end of the agreement, but our government will lose its international credibility and the power of our voice at the table. The president’s decision to abdicate American leadership during a critical moment in our effort to advance a denuclearization agreement with North Korea is particularly senseless, disturbing and dangerous.
Democrats have no illusions about the Iranian regime. We remain strongly committed to stopping the advancement of Iran’s ballistic missile program, its egregious human rights abuses, and its support of terrorism and other nefarious activities in the region.”