Dems: Trump scrapping Iran deal sets new bar for North Korea talks

Dems: Trump scrapping Iran deal sets new bar for North Korea talks
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Democrats say President TrumpDonald John TrumpCummings says Ivanka Trump not preserving all official communications Property is a fundamental right that is now being threatened 25 states could see severe flooding in coming weeks, scientists say MORE's decision to scrap the Iran nuclear deal sets a high bar for ensuring denuclearization — a standard they plan to hold him to ahead of his planned talks with North Korea's Kim Jong Un next month.

“By declaring that the extensive enforcement provisions against Iran are grossly deficient, in what he described as ‘the worst deal ever,’ Trump sets the standard by which he himself should be judged in Korea," Rep. Lloyd DoggettLloyd Alton DoggettOn The Money: Senate rejects border declaration in rebuke to Trump | Dems press Mnuchin on Trump tax returns | Waters says Wells Fargo should fire its CEO Dems press Mnuchin on Trump tax returns Congress must break its addiction to unjust tax extenders MORE (D-Texas).

“We cannot settle for some broad statement of principles,” he continued. “We need to know that he will secure a more stringent inspection regime in Korea — even more intrusive than that which he has unjustifiably condemned in Iran."


Trump long decried the deal negotiated under his predecessor between Iran, the U.S. and five other global powers — including Russia and China — before announcing the U.S. withdrawal this week.

The agreement, finalized in 2015 after roughly two years of intense negotiations, aimed to block Iran from building nuclear weapons in exchange for the removal of long-standing international oil and financial sanctions.

Widely viewed as the most prominent foreign policy achievement during President Obama's tenure, the accord demanded sharp reductions in Iran's reserves of enriched uranium, backed up by tougher international inspections.

In abandoning the accord on Tuesday, Trump argued that the deal was a gift to Tehran that offered no guarantees the country would make good on its vows to curb its nuclear weapons program.

“This was a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” Trump said at the White House.

John Bolton, Trump’s newly placed national security adviser, also painted the deal as an abject failure — one that’s allowed Tehran to fund violence across the Middle East while “the Iranian people have suffered at home” from both a stagnant economy “and a spiraling environmental crisis.”

“Its very premise has been betrayed by its own abysmal track record over the past two years,” Bolton, a defense hawk who helped champion the Iraq War under former President George W. Bush, wrote Wednesday in an op-ed in The Washington Post.

Trump's decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran, which was announced ahead of a Saturday deadline, comes as he presses toward a historic meeting with Kim next month following an easing of tensions between the U.S. and North Korea in recent weeks.

Central to those talks, which are scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, will be the future of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The program has long been considered a threat to the region and particularly to South Korea, where tens of thousands of U.S. troops are stationed.

"We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!" Trump tweeted Thursday.

But Democrats say that by exiting the Iran deal this week, Trump has essentially set a new threshold for himself when it comes to handling North Korea's own nuclear program, which has been a point of growing concern for years.

“If you find an agreement that’s working and meeting all of its metrics inadequate because your predecessor signed it,” said Rep. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyHouse passes series of measures hitting Russia, Putin Exclusive: Biden to run for White House, says Dem lawmaker Dems struggle to turn page on Omar controversy MORE (D-Va.), “then here’s your standard — your own standard — for North Korea: Absolute denuclearization; absolutely verifiable.

“Anything less than that is a failure, Mr. Trump.”

In hammering Trump’s decision to leave the Iran accord, Democrats are warning of both the threat to global security and the credibility of the U.S. when it comes to negotiating future peace pacts.

“How will the world, how will our allies or our adversaries in the future believe that a president, a future president, can commit this country to a treaty or other obligation if it won't outlast the next election?” Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffWhite House rejects Dem request for documents on Trump-Putin communications Dems request probe into spa owner suspected of trying to sell access to Trump Dems fear Trump is looking at presidential pardons MORE (Calif.), senior Democratic on the House Intelligence Committee, said Thursday

“That is, I think, the far-reaching and damaging consequence also of this action.”

While most Republicans have continued to oppose the Iran deal, some prominent GOP voices are warning that the president’s decision will accelerate Tehran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons.

Rep. Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoyceFormer GOP chairman Royce joins lobbying shop Lawmakers propose banning shark fin trade Bottom Line MORE (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said this week that while Obama’s Iran deal had its flaws, the best way to fix the shortcomings is to remain a part of the multinational pact. 

“That toothpaste isn’t going back into the tube,” Royce said on Tuesday, referring to cash payments made to Tehran as part of the deal.

“It also won’t help galvanize our allies into addressing Iran’s dangerous activities that threaten us all. I fear a withdrawal would actually set back these efforts. And Congress has heard nothing about alternatives.”

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump's intraparty feuds divide Republicans House leaders need to modernize Congress for the sake of America 4 in 5 Americans say they support net neutrality: poll MORE (D-Calif.) also emphasized the fact that Trump, while promising new sanctions, proposed no replacement to Obama’s agreement. 

“If there is no Plan B, how do we make sure that the world knows that we are committed to nuclear nonproliferation?” she said.