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May 08, 2018

King Statement on President’s Decision to Exit Iran Deal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) released the following statement regarding the President’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran and exit the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Today’s announcement is not surprising, given the President’s repeated threats to the JCPOA, but it is disappointing and potentially disastrous to U.S. interests. I believe that this is the wrong choice for America’s national security, and I’m not alone in that opinion: a number of top Administration officials – including Secretary Mattis – have asserted that it is in the interests of the United States to remain in the deal. Further, top U.S. intelligence officials – including Director of National Intelligence Coats and then-Director of the CIA Pompeo – have testified that Iran has complied with its JCPOA obligations.

“While I acknowledge this deal is neither comprehensive nor perfect, it has by all accounts effectively hindered Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons in the near-term. At a moment when our country already faces serious threats across the globe, the decision to unilaterally withdraw from the JCPOA strains our relationships with key allies, strengthens the hand of Iranian hard-liners, escalates an already concerning matter of national security, and could motivate Iran to accelerate its efforts to develop nuclear weapons – particularly given that the Administration has not yet proposed an adequate strategy to deter Iran’s nuclear ambitions outside of the agreement.”

Senator King carefully reviewed the JCPOA in 2015, calling it a flawed deal that is preferable to the available alternatives. During a hearing last year in the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator King asked Secretary of Defense James Mattis if he believed remaining in the deal at the present time is in our national security interest, to which Secretary Mattis replied, “Yes, Senator, I do.”  

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