WASHINGTON — Jeremy Ben-Ami, President of J Street, issued the following statement in response to the news that President Trump will announce on Friday that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement is not in the national security interest of the United States:
“President Trump’s expected announcement that the JCPOA is not in the US national security interest is a dangerous act of bad faith. It will alienate the US from our key allies, undercut the credibility of American leadership and imperil our national security.
The president’s strategy seems to be predicated on the erroneous belief that getting Congress to unilaterally legislate new terms for the agreement will convince Iran and the other parties to capitulate to US demands in exchange for no new benefits. This gambit risks not only putting the US in breach of the agreement. It also aligns our European allies with Iran in defense of the deal, thereby slashing US leverage in any additional diplomatic efforts to constrain Iran’s nuclear and non-nuclear activities.
The facts are clear: The nuclear agreement is working as intended. It has blocked every Iranian pathway to a nuclear weapon. The IAEA and the US security establishment, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have confirmed that Iran has complied with its obligations. By arguing that the agreement is not in the security interests of the United States, Trump directly contradicts his own secretary of defense – who explicitly told the Senate this month that it was.
The president is acting based on his own personal political agenda, distaste for diplomacy and contempt for his predecessor. Congress should see this decision for what it is: A mistake that makes it harder, not easier, to confront Iran, prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons and deter its malign activities in the region.
Lawmakers must not violate the nuclear agreement by reimposing nuclear sanctions – or take any other legislative action that would undermine the deal. Doing so would isolate the US, empower Iran and potentially put us on the path to another unnecessary and destructive war in the Middle East. Killing the JCPOA would also increase the threat to Israel – which is why the majority of the Israeli security establishment believes the agreement should be maintained.
Working alongside our many partners in a broad coalition of advocates and activists, J Street will do everything that we can to urge Congress to uphold this vital agreement, and to defeat any efforts to undermine it. As we have since negotiations toward the JCPOA first began, we will rally pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans across the country to stand up for effective, pragmatic diplomacy that makes us safer. We will fight back against the hawkish fringe that wants to drag us into new rounds of conflict and chaos.”
Congress can save the deal, prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and stop Trump from leading us down the path to war.