Resumed Iranian Activity at Fordow Highlights Disastrous Failure of Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’

November 5, 2019

In response to the Iranian government’s announcement of the resumption of certain enrichment-related activity at the Fordow nuclear facility, J Street’s Vice President of Government Affairs Dylan Williams released the following statement:

“The alarming news that sensitive activity halted under the JCPOA will now resume is just the latest destabilizing result of the Trump Administration’s reckless decision to violate the agreement, impose sanctions that are disproportionately harming Iranian civilians and pressure other countries, including our European allies, to do the same. It marks the latest failure of a “maximum pressure” strategy that risks reopening Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon, has emboldened and empowered Iran’s hardliners and made our troops and allies in the region less safe.

President Trump’s severe mishandling of policy toward Iran is evident to voters. A recent survey by the University of Maryland found that a majority of Americans — including a majority of Republicans — blame actions by the Trump Administration as the main factor behind escalation in the Gulf, with 35 percent citing Trump’s abandonment of the JCPOA, and 34 percent citing his administration’s imposition of new sanctions on Iran.

Given the president’s propensity for impulsive, reckless decisions that run counter to US interests, it is now more important than ever that Congress exercise its Constitutional prerogative to prevent the president from launching or stumbling into an unauthorized war with Iran. Lawmakers should insist that the language prohibiting the president from launching a military strike against Iran without first obtaining Congress’ authorization, which has received bipartisan, majority support in both chambers, remain in the final conference version of the National Defense Authorization Act.

As the risk of further escalation mounts, it’s also vital that presidential candidates continue to make clear that they intend to return to full compliance with the JCPOA upon taking office, provided that Iran does the same. Only by returning to the parameters of a successful, internationally-supported multilateral agreement can we avert disaster, begin to undo the severe damage wrought by the Trump administration and create a platform for further diplomacy to address Iran’s nuclear and non-nuclear activity.”