J Street welcomes the Trump administration’s second certification to Congress that Iran continues to be in compliance with its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear agreement.
This is just the latest clear indicator that the administration’s senior national security officials recognize that Iran has complied with its extensive obligations, and that the agreement has successfully blocked Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon. It is making the US, Israel and the world safer. As we noted last week on the second anniversary of the finalization of the agreement, it enjoys strong support among American voters of both parties and has the backing of much of the Israeli security establishment.
However, we are deeply concerned by reports that President Trump, despite the urging of his national security team, was extremely reluctant to allow this certification and remains determined to undermine or violate the United States’ commitment to the agreement in the future.
Withdrawing from or abrogating the JCPOA would be incredibly dangerous and destructive for the national security of the United States and our allies, including Israel. This act of bad faith would shatter the powerful and effective international coalition that has come together to ensure Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon. It would leave the United States completely isolated from our partners and destroy the credibility of American leadership. It could return Iran once again to a position of being able to develop a nuclear weapon, while emboldening the regime’s most dangerous and intransigent hardliners.
Such a step could put the US and the region on the path to a disastrous war – for no clear reason, it must be said, other than the president’s apparent disdain for the agreement and for the achievements of President Obama. It remains absolutely clear, as it has been since the JCPOA was negotiated, that its critics and opponents have conceived of no viable alternatives that can accomplish what the agreement has for the security of the US and our allies.
We agree with the administration that Iran’s non-nuclear malign behaviors, including its development of ballistic missiles, its support for international terrorism and its egregious human rights violations against its own people, must continue to be confronted, including through appropriately targeted sanctions. These actions, however, fall outside the scope of the JCPOA, and they must not be misrepresented as somehow violating “the spirit” of the agreement or as justifying a US withdrawal.
Moving forward, J Street calls on Congress and the administration to continue to fully uphold and enforce the JCPOA agreement, and to undertake determined new efforts to confront the regime’s behaviors and moderate its policies through carefully-modulated measures and tough diplomacy.
More information about the Iran nuclear agreement.