MacArthur, Pallone differ on Iran deal decertification
President Trump's disavowal of the Iran nuclear deal brokered during the Obama administration is either rectification of a misguided agenda, or a blindside to US allies that also cuts off America's means of monitoring the situation, depending on which New Jersey shore Congressman you follow.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, launched in 2015 and originally 15 years in duration, essentially slows Iran's nuclear arms development, points nuclear development into channels for peaceful use, monitors its activities to ensure compliance, and in return unlocks hundreds of billions of dollars in Iranian oil revenue and assets that were placed under sanction by the United Nations, US, and European Union. Any confirmed violations would "snap back" the sanctions for another 10 years.
There are many more components in this complex agreement, all of which have ramificaitions for all signatories. See the U.S. State Department white paper here.
Trump's decertification does not dissolve the agreement, but casts strong doubt about Iran's compliance with the terms, and the possibility of stronger sanctions stemming from the move would nullify it. A New York Times analysis places the tactical decision about sanctions with Congress.
Republican Representative Tom MacArthur (R-3) defended Trump's decision, while his neighbor to the north, Democrat Frank Pallone (D-6) excoriated it.
"I’ve always said the Iran nuclear deal was a terrible deal for America, Israel and our other allies in the Middle East. This deal did not end Iran’s nuclear program, it only resulted in reduced pressure and less protection. The ink was barely dry and we already had evidence that Iran was violating the terms of this agreement. And they continue to do so—just this week, it was reported that Iran was trying to obtain technology that could be used for a nuclear program. We should never underestimate the resolve of the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and we must fight to protect our country and our allies."
“After careful and measured consideration, in 2015 I voted in support of the agreement between the United States, our international partners, and Iran because it was the most effective means available to monitor Iran’s nuclear program and peacefully prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. The United States was not naïve in negotiating that agreement. Iran has long had the desire for nuclear capability, and its past is checkered with dishonesty, blatant support for terrorist organizations in the region, and illegal tests of ballistic missiles. The agreement is not perfect, but it is our best chance to preserve peace and security. The Trump Administration has yet to explain what the credible alternative is to the deal, or fully demonstrate that it understands the consequences of walking away.
“Decertifying the Iran deal undercuts our allies who have joined this initiative and leaves the United States with fewer opportunities to curb the development of nuclear weapons in Iran. The Trump Administration is once again pursuing a policy based on extreme ideology rather than the practical considerations of the United States and its allies. With the Trump Administration abdicating its leadership in this area, it is incumbent on Congress to step forward and represent our interests in the Middle East.”
MacArthur and Pallone have agreed to return to WOBM's studios for new editions of "Ask The Congressman." Dates and times have yet to be determined.