Tags: iran | nuclear deal | nuclear | gop | ed royce

Top Republican Slams Iran Nuclear Deal on Second Anniversary

Image: Top Republican Slams Iran Nuclear Deal on Second Anniversary

U.S. House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

By    |   Saturday, 15 Jul 2017 10:40 PM

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce on Saturday slammed the Iran nuclear deal – days before President Donald Trump is to decide whether Tehran is complying with it – saying it allows the regime, "even without cheating, keep a path to a nuclear weapon."

"Two years after President [Barack] Obama announced his 'deal' with Iran, the ayatollah is still working toward a nuclear bomb," the California Republican said in a statement posted on Twitter.

"The Iranian regime has accelerated its illicit ballistic missile program, and there have been multiple reports of Iran not living up to the agreement.

"Just this past week, we learned German intelligence caught Iran trying to buy illegal nuclear weapons technology.

"If Iran has not materially breached the agreement, it’s only because the JCPOA is so deeply flawed," Royce said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name for the deal.

"It allowed Iran to keep thousands of nuclear centrifuges spinning and, even without cheating, keep a path to a nuclear weapon."

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was signed on July 14, 2015, in Vienna after 20 months of negotiations led by the U.S. and six world powers.

It required Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons programs in exchange for the lifting of years of crippling sanctions and the unfreezing of tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue and other financial assets.

Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the agreement as "a measureable step away from the prospect of nuclear proliferation, towards transparency and cooperation."

The accord took effect on Jan. 16, 2016.

Republicans immediately ripped the accord, buoyed further by news reports later that the Obama White House quietly transferred $1.7 billion in cash to Tehran shortly after the deal was effective.

Obama officials said the payment was to settle a decades-old arbitration claim between the U.S. and Iran.

Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned against the deal before it was signed, telling Congress in March 2015 that the agreement would be a "countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare" by a country that "will always be an enemy of America."

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Republican Donald Trump repeatedly bashed the Iran nuclear deal, saying in March that "my number-one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran."

He charged that the agreement was negotiated at "the highest level of incompetence" and vowed to "rip up" what he called "the worst deal ever" – saying he would do it "on day one" if he won the White House.

But President Trump must decide by Monday whether Iran is abiding by the deal.

U.S. law requires the State Department to notify Congress every 90 days of Iran's compliance.

A top administration official told Reuters Thursday that Trump was "very likely" to say that Tehran is honoring the accord despite his reservations.

The official "spoke on condition of anonymity," telling Reuters that "Trump could always change his mind."

Further, 38 retired U.S. generals and admirals urged the president in a letter this week to keep the nuclear deal, saying that it was critical to national security and that it had stopped Tehran's path to nuclear weapons.

They also called on the administration to open "official diplomatic communication channels with the Iranian government."

Iran denies seeking nuclear arms, but the International Atomic Energy Agency concluded in December 2015 that Tehran worked on the design of a missile-borne nuclear warhead until 2009.

The Jerusalem Post reported this week that German intelligence reports surfaced over the past month showing that "there is no evidence of a complete about-face in Iran’s atomic polices in 2016.

"Iran sought missile carrier technology necessary for its rocket program," according to the report.

In his statement Saturday, Royce said that the Trump administration "rightly put Iran on notice for its dangerous acts.

"The U.S. must continue to push back on Iran’s support for terrorism, its human-rights abuses and activities that violate the nuclear deal – in letter and in spirit."

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House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce on Saturday slammed the Iran nuclear deal - days before President Donald Trump is to decide whether Tehran is complying with it - saying it allows the regime, "even without cheating, keep a path to a nuclear weapon."
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Saturday, 15 Jul 2017 10:40 PM
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