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Tags: Donald Trump | Iran | Israel | Middle East | Trump Administration | War on Terrorism | nuclear weapons

Trump's Iran Decision Brings Global Praise: 'Historic Move'

Trump's Iran Decision Brings Global Praise: 'Historic Move'
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 08 May 2018 05:29 PM

President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement Tuesday brought widespread praise across the globe, with House Speaker Paul Ryan calling Trump's action "a strong statement" and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dubbing it an "historic move."

"From the beginning, the Obama-era Iran deal was deeply flawed," said Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican. "The president's announcement [Tuesday] is a strong statement that we can and must do better.

"Iran's hostile actions since its signing have only reaffirmed that it remains dedicated to sowing instability in the region.

"I have always believed the best course of action is to fix the deficiencies in the agreement," Ryan said. "The president is right to insist that we hold Iran accountable, both today and for the long term."

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called the deal "flawed" and said he shared "the objective and commitment made by the president that Iran should never be able to acquire or develop a nuclear weapon."

Making good on a longstanding campaign promise, President Trump signed a presidential memorandum reimposing crippling sanctions on Iran that had been waived under the agreement.

Trump faced a May 12 deadline set by U.S. law to decide whether to continue the nuclear deal, which also included Germany, France, Britain, China, and Russia.

The 2015 agreement, considered Democratic President Barack Obama's primary diplomatic achievement, immediately brought Iran $1.7 billion — mostly in cash.

"America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail," Trump said from the White House Diplomatic Room. "We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction."

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran would remain in the deal.

But Republicans lauded Trump's decision.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who has long slammed the 2015 Iran accord, said the president "made a strong and convincing case for this position."

"With the mere passage of time, the deal allows Iran to enrich and reprocess uranium, without limitation, on its march toward a nuclear weapon," Graham said. "This would have required our Arab allies to develop a nuclear weapon of their own to counter the growing Iranian threat."

He added Trump's action "sends a strong signal to the North Koreans.

"The Trump administration is serious about denuclearization and will not support weak deals with loopholes.

"President Trump is not going to let the Iranians, or the North Koreans, have it both ways," he said.

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who another committee member, said "tough sanctions are a first step toward rolling back Iran's campaign of terror, but it won't be the last.

"If the ayatollahs rush toward the bomb, the United States must end the program once and for all."

Sen. Tim Scott, who is also from South Carolina and serves on the panel, called on U.S. allies to "come to the table to lay out a new course focused on furthering global security if we are going to get serious about curbing Iran's nuclear program."

Many Republicans have long attacked the Iran agreement because it was not ratified as a treaty by Congress — and Utah Sen. Mike Lee said he hoped the White House would "submit the resulting treaty to the Senate for ratification as required by the Constitution."

Tennessee Rep. Diane Black called the deal "a dangerous agreement since day one.

"President Obama cut a deal with the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism," she said. "President Obama's giveaway to Iran jeopardized the safety and security of our citizens."

However, Democratic Armed Services member Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts praised the Obama administration for negotiating "a landmark agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

She said Trump's decision "breaks our word, hurts our credibility with our allies, empowers Iranian hardliners, and doesn't make us any safer."

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi voiced similar concerns.

"This rash decision isolates America, not Iran," the California Democrat said.

"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."

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington also countered that Trump's action "moves us further from our goal of preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon."

In Los Angeles, the Simon Wiesenthal Center commended Trump, saying "lying is the national anthem and Magna Carta of the Ayatollah's regime."

"A regime that serially celebrates the denial of the Nazi Holocaust, history's most documented genocide, ever took place, can be relied upon to lie about its commitments to the international community," said Rabbis Marvin Hier, the center's founder and dean, and Abraham Cooper, associate dean.

On the global front, Israel's Netanyahu said leaving the Iran deal intact would be "a recipe for disaster, a disaster for our region, a disaster for the peace of the world."

Netanyahu, who railed against the agreement in a 2015 speech before Congress, said Tehran's aggression had grown since the deal, especially in Syria, where he said it was "trying to establish military bases to attack Israel."

To that action, Sen. Cotton warned in his Iran statement: "It would be a grave miscalculation of historic magnitude by the ayatollahs if they choose to attack Israel.

In addition, Saudi Arabia, regional rival of Tehran and longtime U.S. ally, said it "supports and welcomes" Trump's decision.

"The kingdom supports and welcomes the steps announced by the U.S. president toward withdrawing from the nuclear deal," said a statement carried by state-run television Al-Ekhbariya.

But French President Emmanuel Macron, who lobbied Trump against trashing the deal on his state visit to Washington last month, took to Twitter to express his displeasure with the president's decision:

Bloomberg News contributed to this report.

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With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dubbing it an "historic move" and House Speaker Paul Ryan calling it "a strong statement," President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement Tuesday brought widespread praise across the globe.
nuclear weapons, nuclear deal, denuclearization, state sponsor of terror, sanctions
Tuesday, 08 May 2018 05:29 PM
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