Republican Leaders Praise Trump’s Decision to Withdraw from Iran Deal

By Melanie Arter | May 8, 2018 | 4:44 PM EDT

President Donald Trump (Screenshot)

( - GOP leaders applauded President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal Tuesday.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the deal was “deeply flawed” from the beginning and that “Iran’s hostile actions since its signing have only reaffirmed that it remains dedicated to sowing instability in the region.”

“The president’s announcement today is a strong statement that we can and must do better. I have always believed the best course of action is to fix the deficiencies in the agreement. It is unfortunate that we could not reach an understanding with our European partners on a way to do that, but I am grateful to them for working with the United States toward that goal,” Ryan said in a statement.

“The president is right to insist that we hold Iran accountable both today and for the long-term. There will now be an implementation period for applying sanctions on Iran. During that time, it is my hope that the United States will continue to work with our allies to achieve consensus on addressing a range of destabilizing Iranian behavior—both nuclear and non-nuclear,” the speaker added.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he “strongly” supports Trump’s decision, adding that the president “made a strong and convincing case for this position.”

“The agreement has always been fatally flawed when it came to controlling Iranian nuclear ambitions. With the mere passage of time, the deal allows Iran to enrich and reprocess uranium – without limitation – on its march toward a nuclear weapon. This would have required our Arab allies to develop a nuclear weapon of their own to counter the growing Iranian threat,” Graham said in a statement.

“There are some who blindly supported this deal, regardless of the risks it posed to our own national security. They sincerely believed that by providing Iran with sanctions relief, the Iranians would change course and become a better member of the family of nations. Those assumptions have proven to be a disastrous mistake,” he said.

“Instead, Iran has used the funds provided by sanctions relief to significantly enhance their military capability and create havoc throughout the Middle East. They also have used the funds to increase the threats posed to our ally in Israel,” the senator said.

Graham said the president’s decision “also 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 certainly isn’t going to repeat President Obama and Secretary Kerry’s mistakes,” the senator added.

In an announcement Tuesday, Trump said “the Iran deal is defective at its core” and that it is clear “that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement.”

“If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons,” he said.

After making his announcement, the president signed a presidential memorandum to reinstate U.S. nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime.

“We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction,” the president said, and “any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could be “strongly sanctioned” too.

“America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail. We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction, and we will not allow a regime that chants ‘Death to America’ to gain access to the most deadly weapons on Earth,” he said.

“Today’s action sends a critical message: The United States no longer makes empty threats. When I make promises, I keep them,” Trump said.

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