On Tuesday, President Trump announced that the United States would be terminating the Iran deal. He did so on firm footing, to the consternation of the nation’s media as well as European allies who have been itching to do business with the Islamic Republic for decades. Trump explained, correctly, that “the Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terror. It exports dangerous missiles, fuels conflicts across the Middle East, and supports terrorist proxies and militias such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban and Al Qaeda.” He went on to list the terrorist activities in which the regime has participated, and mentioned that the mullahs have “plunder[ed] the wealth of its own people.”
Then he got into the good stuff.
Trump said that Barack Obama’s Iran deal “was supposed to protect the United States and our allies from the lunacy of an Iranian nuclear bomb,” but that the deal “allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium and – over time – reach the brink of a nuclear breakout.” This is eminently correct. All of the deal’s proponents who suggest that Iran’s nuclear ambitions were curbed by the deal are, quite simply, lying – Iran’s ambitions were merely postponed, with the knowledge that a full nuclear breakout in 2025 would result in zero sanctions of any kind. As Trump stated, “at the point when the United States had maximum leverage, this disastrous deal gave this regime – and it’s a regime of great terror – many billions of dollars, some of it in actual cash – a great embarrassment to me as a citizen and to all citizens of the United States.”
Trump mentioned that Israeli-garnered intelligence showed that Iran had lied repeatedly about its ambitions – that it wanted to develop nuclear weapons all along. The deal, Trump concluded, “didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.” As Trump pointed out, Iran’s military budget “has grown by almost 40 percent,” and the mullahs used the new money “to build its nuclear-capable missiles, support terrorism, and cause havoc throughout the Middle East and beyond.”
[I]t is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement. The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons. Therefore, I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. In a few moments, I will sign a presidential memorandum to begin reinstating U.S. nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime. We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction. Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States. America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail. We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction. And we will not allow a regime that chants “Death to America” to gain access to the most deadly weapons on Earth. Today’s action sends a critical message. The United States no longer makes empty threats. When I make promises, I keep them.
Trump is, of course, absolutely correct across the board. And despite the Obama team’s shrieks of outrage – and their obvious attempts to play defense for one of the worst regimes on the planet – Trump is right to remove the United States from this deal. Here’s why.
1. This Deal Never Should Have Been Signed. For all the reasons Trump mentions, this deal never should have been signed. Team Obama lied brazenly to the American people about the newfound moderation of the Rouhani government; the Rouhani government is a terrorist government. The deal does nothing about Iran’s missile programs or terror funding. The United States now provides cash to pay for both. And Iran has no intention of disarming; they’ll merely delay until it’s worthwhile not to do so anymore.
2. The Deal Prevented Concerted Action. The deal didn’t merely remove sanctions on Iran. It effectively blocked America’s allies from doing anything to stop the Iranian nuclear forward motion. If Israel and Saudi Arabia had attacked Iranian facilities, they would have been cross-ways with the United States and the Europeans. The deal effectively made Tehran an ally, and our real allies enemies.
3. The Deal Was Never Approved By The Senate. Obama worked out a pathetic arrangement with Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) to reverse the normal course of procedure for treaty approval – instead of 60 senators being required to greenlight a treaty, now it would take 60 senators to kill the treaty. That was never Constitutional. Trump is right to abrogate the deal on those grounds alone.
4. Iran Has Gotten Intensely Aggressive Since The Deal. Since 2015, the pace of Iran-backed Syrian slaughter has only increased; Hezbollah has effectively taken over all of Lebanon; Hamas has re-armed with Iranian help; Yemen has devolved into Iranian-backed chaos. Iran has ratcheted up its terrorist programs since it became clear that the United States would not back its allies against Iran in any serious way.
5. The Deal Did Not Deter The Quest For Nuclear Weapons. After the Iraq War, Muammar Qaddafi gave up his nuclear program, knowing that there was a serious possibility that the United States would take action. After the Iran nuclear deal, the North Korean regime even more loudly pursued nuclear development, knowing that it would earn goodies from the United States. By pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and making it clear that there are continuing consequences for dictatorships seeking nuclear weapons, Trump has made it obvious to North Korea that their best move here is to disarm, and to do so with credible methods of enforcement.
No, killing the deal won’t lead to US-led war in Iran – Trump has no such desire. But it could and should lead to concerted action by America’s allies, both economic and military, if need be. The false binary presented by the Obama team was always a horrible lie, a propagandistic effort to paint foreign policy hawks into the corner.
The Iran deal was a disaster. Trump is right to kill it.
And the Obama team’s new attempts to curry favor with terrorists in Tehran should tell you everything you need to know about their agenda in the first place.