Quick Takes: Reactions to Trump’s Decision to Violate JCPOA

A roundup of responses to the president’s announcement.

Keep in mind that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was not a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Iran. Other signatories include Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China. The agreement was also approved unanimously by the UN Security Council.  I’ve gathered some of the reactions to Trump’s announcement today that the U.S. will violate this multilateral agreement.

* Iran

Iranian Pres. Hassan Rouhani said he has directed his diplomats to negotiate with European countries, Russia and China about remaining in the nuclear deal despite the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement.

But Rouhani said Iran is ready to start unlimited uranium enrichment if these negotiations do not yield benefits in a couple of weeks…

In remarks reported by Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, Jahangiri, a popular reformist, said it would be “naive” to enter into negotiations with the United States again.

The comments underscored a growing debate among political factions in Iran over what to do if after the U.S. withdrawal. Some politicians have urged the government to continue to work with Europe to salvage the accord, which lifted key international sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program…

But others have been less forgiving, urging Iran’s leaders to immediately withdraw and restart suspended elements of the country’s nuclear program if the United States left the deal.

* Britain, Germany and 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 emphasise our continuing commitment to the JCPoA. This agreement remains important for our shared security. We recall that the JCPoA was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in resolution 2231. This resolution remains the binding international legal framework for the resolution of the dispute about the Iranian nuclear programme. We urge all sides to remain committed to its full implementation and to act in a spirit of responsibility.

According to the IAEA, Iran continues to abide by the restrictions set out by the JCPoA, in line with its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The world is a safer place as a result. Therefore we, the E3, will remain parties to the JCPoA. Our governments remain committed to ensuring the agreement is upheld, and will work with all the remaining parties to the deal to ensure this remains the case including through ensuring the continuing economic benefits to the Iranian people that are linked to the agreement.

* Russia

Russia is “disappointed” in US President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran deal, Dmitry Polyansky, a deputy Russian ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters today…

When asked if Russia will call a UN Security Council meeting regarding the US decision, he said, “all the options are on the table.”

* Former Secretary of State John Kerry

* President Barack Obama

The reality is clear. The JCPOA is working – that is a view shared by our European allies, independent experts, and the current U.S. Secretary of Defense. The JCPOA is in America’s interest – it has significantly rolled back Iran’s nuclear program. And the JCPOA 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 JCPOA 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 JCPOA 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.

(There’s more at the link)

* Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz

President Trump’s decision today to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal is a major strategic mistake that not only damages the United States’ ability to prevent Iran from acquiring the material for a nuclear weapon, but also impairs our ability to prevent the spread and use of nuclear weapons, to work with allies and partners on issues of global concern and to protect our interests in the Middle East for years, if not decades, to come. The Iran nuclear deal rolled back Iran’s nuclear program and imposed uniquely stringent monitoring and verification measures—the most important elements of which were permanent—to prevent the country from ever developing a bomb. The United States is now in violation of the terms of the deal without offering a credible alternative.

The Iran deal is and has always been about depriving Iran of the nuclear materials—highly enriched uranium and plutonium—needed to make a weapon. As international inspectors, who have been on the ground every day since the deal was concluded, have confirmed: the Iran agreement has accomplished this. The fact that the advice of this nation’s most important allies was ignored in this decision adds to the consequence of the President’s decision.

Remaining in the agreement was very clearly in the U.S. national interest. It’s hard to predict what will unfold from here, but the President has driven a deep wedge between the United States and our allies in Europe and has withdrawn from the process that would allow a comprehensive investigation of the Iran archives recently revealed by Israel.

* Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

The President’s decision to follow his misguided and uninformed campaign promise to destroy the successful Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action endangers global security and defies comprehension.

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.

* Twitter responses:

* Finally, here is Tom Toles:

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.