President Donald Trump made many pledges when he ran for office, including a vow that he would withdraw the U.S. from the so-called Iran deal. On May 8, President Trump fulfilled that promise, announcing the U.S. would withdraw from the accord (technically known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA). While many of the deal’s supporters admit it has flaws, they say that pulling out is a mistake. Opponents contend that Trump is merely undoing an ill-advised agreement that President Obama pushed through in 2015 without Senate approval. Trump’s move will most properly be judged years from now in the history books; in the meantime, here are some thoughts from both sides on the issue.
10. “The deal lifted crippling economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for very weak limits on the regime’s nuclear activity, and no limits at all on its other malign behavior, including its sinister activities in Syria, Yemen, and other places all around the world. In other words, at the point when the United States had maximum leverage, this disastrous deal gave this regime … 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.”
— President Trump, in announcing the U.S. will withdraw from the Iran deal. That is one of the biggest criticisms of the deal, that it did nothing to deter Iran’s aggressive actions.
9. “Trump has demolished America’s credibility and paved the way for Iran to restart its nuclear program. Trump has done the unthinkable: isolated the U.S. and rallied the world around Iran.”
— Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, in a tweet.
8. “Today’s announcement weakens our security, breaks America’s word, isolates us from our European allies, puts Israel at greater risk, empowers Iran’s hardliners, and reduces our global leverage to address Tehran’s misbehavior.”
— Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who had worked behind the scenes to try to save the deal.
7. “Obama left the Middle East a smoking wreckage heap — a situation so grim that even Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan have been forced to ally with Israel to allay fears of an Iranian regional takeover. Obama and his staff lied repeatedly to the American people about the Iran deal — and they continue to lie. When Kerry says that the deal will ‘empower Iran’s hardliners,’ he is repeating an outright fabrication: The hardliners are in charge of the government, and the deal strengthened them.”
— Conservative columnist Ben Shapiro
6. “Finally: A U.S. president is pushing back on Iran’s dangerous and growing power. President Trump’s decision Tuesday to withdraw from Team Obama’s badly flawed Iran deal and reimpose sanctions sends a clear message to the mullahs: The jig’s up.”
— New York Post editorial
5. “President Trump’s decision will do the opposite of what he says he intends. It will free up Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon and ultimately force us into a binary choice between engaging in a new military conflict or living with a nuclear-armed adversary, both of which pose grave national security risks. And it puts us at odds with our closest European allies, who repeatedly urged the United States to honor the agreement.”
— Former vice president Joe Biden, in a Facebook post.
4. “One of the worst, most misguided, most destructive international ‘deals’ in American history is now dead. Good. President Obama’s foreign-policy legacy, based in part on the flawed notion that ‘legitimate grievances’ against America were the fuel for the jihadist fire, has now been rejected.”
— David French, National Review
3. “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.”
— Former President Barack Obama, in a statement on Trump’s decision, saying it was “misguided” and a “serious mistake.”
2. “The deal didn’t push war further away, it actually brought it closer. The deal didn’t reduce Iran’s aggression, it dramatically increased it. Since the deal, we’ve seen Iran’s aggression grow every day — in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Yemen, in Gaza, and most of all, in Syria, where Iran is trying to establish military bases from which to attack Israel.”
— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who praised Trump for his action, saying that leaving the deal in place would be “a recipe for disaster, a disaster for our region, a disaster for the peace of the world.”
1. “France, Germany and the UK regret the U.S. decision to leave the JCPOA.”
— French President Emmanuel Macron, noting on Twitter that the other participants in the deal will continue to “work collectively on a broader framework, covering nuclear activity, the post-2025 period, ballistic activity, and stability in the Middle East, notably Syria, Yemen and Iraq.”