Former security officials urge Trump to abandon Iran deal

Former security officials urge Trump to abandon Iran deal
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Numerous former intelligence, nuclear and defense officials are urging President Trump to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

“We are writing to you as national security experts, many who worked in the nuclear weapons, arms control, nonproliferation and intelligence fields, to express our strong opposition to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran ... and to ask that you withdraw the United States from this dangerous agreement as soon as possible,” the 45 experts wrote in a Thursday letter to Trump.

The experts also want Trump 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.”

Trump must either decide to recertify the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), by a deadline of Oct. 15 or walk away. Should he walk away, he would set off a series of events that would ultimately end the deal, a move advised against by the six other partners in the agreement: United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, Russia and the European Union.

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The White House recently recertified the Iran deal in July, but officials at the time emphasized that Iran is “in default of the spirit” of the agreement.

Trump during his first address to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday called the agreement an “embarrassment” and the government in Tehran “a murderous regime.”

The 45 experts instead implore Trump to pursue a plan offered by former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton. Bolton’s strategy calls for an end to the JCPOA and in its place new sanctions to permanently stop Iran from possessing nuclear technology.

“This approach includes strict new sanctions to bar permanently the transfer of nuclear technology to Iran” and “calls for new sanctions in response to Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and efforts to destabilize the Middle East, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen,” they write.

Trump is reportedly leaning toward decertifying the nuclear accord, instead putting the responsibility on Congress to determine if the U.S. will exit the deal.