Washington • Sen. Orrin Hatch and others in Utah’s federal delegation backed President Donald Trump’s move Tuesday to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, saying the Obama-era accord, negotiated to keep the regime from building nuclear weapons, actually helped Iran to the detriment of the world.
“I applaud the president’s announcement,” Hatch said in a statement Tuesday. “The Iran deal is deeply problematic in substance and design, and for too long, it has been a substitute for any broader U.S. thinking on the region. With our withdrawal from the deal, we can now focus on working together, across the aisle and across the Atlantic, to counter Iran’s malign activities, from its nuclear weapons program to its human rights abuses.”
Trump said Tuesday from the White House Diplomatic Room that the United States will withdraw from the deal and add economic sanctions against Iran, fulfilling a campaign pledge but also angering U.S. allies that vowed to remain in the pact.
We cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement,” Trump said, calling the deal a “great embarrassment” to him and all U.S. citizens.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said Trump’s move was right because the deal was never ratified by the Senate and should be tossed.
“It is unfortunate that the previous administration rushed to produce an executive agreement with Iran that it knew could never withstand the scrutiny of the United States Senate,” Lee said. “I hope that the current administration will be able to negotiate a better deal and that when it does it will submit the resulting treaty to the Senate for ratification as required by the Constitution.”
Rep. John Curtis, a Utah Republican and member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, also said he supported Trump’s action.
“The current deal has major weaknesses including inadequate inspections and assurance that Iran will not further develop ballistic missile capabilities,” Curtis said. “By including a sunset provision in the original deal, it gave a path for Iran to eventually develop nuclear weapons. This was unacceptable. The administration now needs to work with Congress to develop a meaningful approach to make certain that Iran will not attain nuclear weapons.”
The Iran deal, considered President Barack Obama’s signature foreign affairs accomplishment, was negotiated with Iran by the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France and China — along with Germany, and lifted economic sanctions if Iran eliminated its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium and most of its low-enriched uranium for a certain time frame.
Trump’s withdrawal from the deal was widely assailed by foreign policy experts and Democrats who say it will damage America’s standing in the world and lead to a nuclear-armed Iran.
“President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran deal is a dangerous mistake that will do grave damage to our global standing and our efforts to stop a nuclear Iran,” said Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.
“The president calls himself a dealmaker — but on one of the most consequential decisions of his presidency, all President Trump has shown is that he can tear up a good deal without any backup plan or feasible path to a better deal,” Udall added. “With this chaotic and dangerous approach to international relations, President Trump is squandering decades of American credibility and making our nation, and the world, less safe.”
But Rep. Chris Stewart, a former Air Force major and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, joined other Utah politicians in saying Trump made the right decision.
“The deal was deeply flawed from the very beginning,” Stewart tweeted. “It has allowed Iran to expand their influence within the region, promote their ballistic weapons program, and foster terrorism throughout the Middle East.
“We need to start this process over, re-engage with Iran and our allies, and have the Senate take it up for a vote,” Stewart added.
Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, said the Iran deal was “highly flawed from the beginning,” had no congressional approval and needed to go.
“The deal freed hundreds of billions of dollars to the leading state-sponsor of terror, which in turn spread chaos throughout the Middle East instead of using these funds for the benefit of the Iranian people who have suffered under their oppressive regime,” Love said. “The [Obama] administration made no effort to track these funds. The deal also failed to meet several objectives set forth by a bipartisan majority. Instead, the agreement merely presented guidelines for ramping up their nuclear program down the road.”
Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said stopping the Iran deal “makes the world a safer place.”
“While we are now withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, we can still move forward with our European allies and apply additional pressure against the regime,” Bishop said. “Our goal must be to stop malicious activity and protect the interests of the United States and her allies.”
Senate candidate Mitt Romney also backed Trump’s move Tuesday.
“The Iran nuclear deal was a bad deal,” Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, tweeted. “Nothing short of a permanent elimination of Iran’s nuclear weapon program is acceptable. President Trump’s action is aimed at pressuring Iran in order to achieve that objective. Its effectiveness will depend in large measure on the cooperative action of our allies and the impact of new sanctions.”