by Sean Langille
Dozens of security experts, former military officials and top diplomats are pushing President Trump to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
Forty-five former security officials, including many who served in Republican administrations in senior positions overseeing nuclear weapons, arms control, nonproliferation, and intelligence, wrote Trump Wednesday calling on him to pursue a plan offered by former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.
Bolton’s plan calls for abrogation of the deal, in consultation with U.K., France, Germany, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, over what he considers “outright violations and other unacceptable Iranian behavior” under the Iran deal’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). His approach also calls for more stringent new sanctions to bar permanently the transfer of nuclear technology to Tehran. He also urges new sanctions in response to Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and efforts and provocative actions that have destabilized the Middle East.
Under the JCPOA, the Trump administration is required to recertify periodically that Iran is in complying with the terms of the nuclear agreement. The officials, in the letter, are urging Trump not to recertify the agreement next month.
“We also call on your administration to declare to Congress next month that Iran has not been complying with this agreement and that it is not in the national security interests of the United States,” the letter said.
President Trump announced Wednesday he has made a decision that he will reveal soon concerning the fate of the deal he called an “embarrassment to the United States” in his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly just one day earlier.
Bolton recently told the Washington Examiner he finds it unlikely that Trump will recertify the deal in light of his recent comments at the United Nations.
“I don’t think we know what the president’s decision on the deal is going to be yet,” Bolton said. “But these were very strong comments. And when you say, among other things, that the deal is an embarrassment to the U.S., it’s hard to see how you certify or stay in.”
Officials on the letter include General William G. Boykin, former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence under President George W. Bush; Ambassador Hank Cooper, former Chief U.S. Negotiator for Defense and Space Policy under President Reagan; Ambassador Robert Joseph, former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security under George W. Bush; and Douglas Feith, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy under George W. Bush.
“It is time to move beyond President Obama’s appeasement of Iran and to begin work on a comprehensive new approach that fully addresses the menace that the Iranian regime increasingly poses to American and international security,” the letter said.