Keating Criticizes Trump’s Withdrawal From Iran Deal

William Richard Keating

WASHINGTON – Congressman Bill Keating is criticizing President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Iran nuclear deal, arguing it divides an allied Western coalition and will further destabilize the Middle East.

Keating, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee’s Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee, spoke as part of a House hearing on Iranian nuclear matters and argued the multinational agreement keeps America safer.

“It is important to remember that had we not struck this agreement in the first place, Iran would already have a nuclear weapon,” Keating said. “At the time of the agreement, they were only two months away. The President’s actions are dangerous. Pulling out brings us closer to immediate conflict and also, experts agree it will make more nuclear weapons available in the Middle East.”

“Instead, we should be joining with our allies and aggressively pursuing inspections and certifications. That is already at our disposal and if Iran violates the agreement, the coalition can come together and make adjustments. Notably, the President utterly failed in his announcement to show any proof or give any credible reason why we should withdraw from the deal,” the Bourne Democrat said.

Keating argued Trump’s decision drives a wedge between the United States and its allies.

“The coalition that came together to strike this agreement has dated back to the end of WWII and is responsible for one of the longest eras of relative peace and prosperity the world has ever known. Our allies are staying in the agreement. Pulling the US out divides us. That is exactly what Russia has attempted to do to this Western coalition for decades and continues to do today,” Keating said.

“I hope Congress and our Committee can move forward and take a larger role to send the right message to our own citizens, our global allies, and our enemies that we will continue to stand together and be strong.  But to do so we can’t take the course that the President laid out for us today.” 

The 2015 agreement, which was negotiated by the Obama administration and included Germany, France and Britain, had lifted most U.S. and international economic sanctions against Iran. In exchange, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program, making it impossible to produce a bomb and establishing rigorous inspections.

But Trump, a severe critic of the deal dating back to his presidential campaign, said Tuesday in a televised address from the White House that it was “defective at its core.”

U.S. allies in Europe had tried to keep him in and lamented his move to abandon it. Iran’s leader ominously warned his country might “start enriching uranium more than before.”

Content from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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