Former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz called President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal on Wednesday “a major strategic mistake” that would impair U.S. ability to deter an Iranian nuclear program as well as its ability to prevent nuclear proliferation around the world.
In announcing termination of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Trump cited Israel’s release of “compelling details about Iran’s past secret efforts to develop nuclear weapons,” as well as insufficient inspection and verification mechanisms and a “windfall” of cash for Iran. Trump said his administration would begin immediate work to reimpose sanctions and would “assemble a broad coalition of nations to deny Iran all paths to a nuclear weapon.”
Moniz warned, however, that withdrawal from the JCPOA would compromise U.S. ability to collaborate with allies on “issues of global concern.” He also said withdrawal would diminish U.S. ability to protect U.S. interests in the Middle East “for years, if not decades, to come.”
“The Iran nuclear deal rolled back Iran’s nuclear program and imposed uniquely stringent monitoring and verification measures — the most important elements of which were permanent — to prevent the country from ever developing a bomb,” Moniz said. “The United States is now in violation of the terms of the deal without offering a credible alternative.”
U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), a member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee and Homeland Security Committee, agreed that the president was “threatening U.S. national security and international stability” with his decision to terminate the 2015 nuclear agreement.
“The Iran nuclear deal provides for comprehensive monitoring by the international community, and there remains no evidence that Iran is violating its commitments,” Langevin said. “Walking away from the JCPOA abandons our allies, weakens our credibility, and harms our ability to foster similar diplomatic agreements in the future. Worse, it undermines the central goal of the agreement: to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The fact is that the nuclear deal is working. Today’s announcement is a crisis of the president’s own making, and he should reconsider and rejoin the JCPOA before our national security is further damaged.”
Moniz added that international inspectors “who have been on the ground every day since the deal was concluded” have confirmed that Iran has not been able to secure highly enriched uranium and plutonium needed to make a nuclear weapon since the deal was completed.
“Remaining in the agreement was very clearly in the U.S. national interest,” Moniz concluded. “It’s hard to predict what will unfold from here, but the president has driven a deep wedge between the United States and our allies in Europe and has withdrawn from the process that would allow a comprehensive investigation of the Iran archives recently revealed by Israel.”