Washington (May 8, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement today in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).


“The President’s decision has gravely undermined America’s national security interests,” said Senator Markey. “The United States is walking away from a deal that prevented Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons forever, and we got absolutely nothing in return. Instead, President Trump’s decision has left us isolated from our closest European allies, less secure, and without any strategy to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons other than another deadly war.


“The Iran nuclear deal was doing exactly what it was designed to do – verifiably ensuring Iran did not obtain nuclear weapons. It drastically rolled back Iran’s nuclear program. It put into place the most stringent monitoring and verification regime ever negotiated and gave international inspectors access and inspection rights to Iran’s nuclear facilities in perpetuity. The deal did not prevent America from countering Iran’s other malign activities or negotiating new deals to address concerns about the sunset clauses in the existing nuclear deal. And if President Trump was really serious about countering Iran’s other non-nuclear activities, he would have used the sanctions authorities Congress has already given him to address these behaviors. Instead, against the advice of our closest allies and his own national security professionals, he has walked away from a deal preventing Iran getting the one capability – nuclear weapons – that would make its malign activities worse.


“You don’t burn down the house to remodel the kitchen,” concluded Senator Markey. “Iran is now free to immediately re-start high level enrichment and nuclear activities without monitoring. Withdrawing from the deal also encourages Iran’s neighbors and rivals like Saudi Arabia to pursue their own nuclear weapons programs, potentially sparking a Middle East arms race, and empowers the hardliners and extremists within Iran. Instead of committing to an agreement that strengthened America’s position against Iran, President Trump just threw away a deal that was our roadmap forward toward engagement and peace and have again turned toward confrontation and war.”