Dems hammer Trump over withdrawal from Iran deal

Democrats swiftly condemned President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE's declaration on Tuesday that he will pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, casting the decision as a perilous abdication of American leadership and a slight against allies. 

"With this decision President Trump is risking U.S. national security, recklessly upending foundational partnerships with key U.S. allies in Europe and gambling with Israel’s security," Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate to vote on blocking Trump's Saudi arms deal as soon as this week There is a severe physician shortage and it will only worsen Democrats ask Fed to probe Trump's Deutsche Bank ties MORE (D-N.J.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement.

"Today’s withdrawal from the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] makes it more likely Iran will restart its nuclear weapons program in the future."

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Trump had long decried the deal with Iran as a catastrophic capitulation to Tehran, arguing that it ultimately failed to permanently block the Islamic Republic's path to a nuclear arsenal while still permitting the country to pursue other forms of aggression. 

But the president's announcement on Tuesday that he would formally withdraw from the deal made good on a campaign promise that many U.S. allies, particularly in the West, had tried to dissuade him from. 

Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenDesign leaks for Harriet Tubman bill after Mnuchin announces delay Design leaks for Harriet Tubman bill after Mnuchin announces delay Bipartisan senators push new bill to improve foreign lobbying disclosures MORE (D-N.H.), also a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, ripped Trump's decision, accusing him of basing the move on "political expediency," while ultimately undermining long-term security interests.

In pulling out of the pact, Shaheen said, Trump not only ignored the advice of key U.S. allies, but of his own military and foreign policy leaders. 

"This decision needlessly discards our only effective means of curtailing Iran’s nuclear capabilities and emboldens hardliners in Iran to resume nuclear weapons activity," Shaheen said. 

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi slated to deliver remarks during panel hearing on poverty The DNC's climate problems run deep Cracks form in Democratic dam against impeachment MORE (D-Calif.) slammed Trump's decision as an abdication of U.S. leadership, particularly at a time when the Trump administration is preparing for talks with North Korea over that country's nuclear program.

"@realDonaldTrump’s decision to abdicate American leadership during a critical moment in our effort to advance a denuclearization agreement with North Korea is particularly senseless, disturbing & dangerous," Pelosi tweeted. 

Another member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Senators demand Trump explain decision to deploy troops amid Iran tensions Senators demand Trump explain decision to deploy troops amid Iran tensions MORE (D-Va.), declared that Trump's vision of an "America first" foreign policy had degraded into "America alone," and accused the president of creating a "new global nuclear crisis."

"President Trump has set us on a dangerous road where war becomes more likely, especially as his advisers beat the drums for regime change, which should never be a goal of U.S policy," Kaine said in a statement. 

That sentiment was echoed by Senate Minority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Senators demand Trump explain decision to deploy troops amid Iran tensions Senators demand Trump explain decision to deploy troops amid Iran tensions MORE (D-Ill.), who warned against the prospect of a renewed nuclear threat from Iran. 

"The last thing America and the world need right now is a new nuclear threat," Durbin tweeted. 

Trump had threatened for more than a year to pull out of the nuclear deal. He disavowed the pact in October, but stopped short of an outright withdrawal, demanding instead that negotiators fix what he described as holes in the framework. 

The U.S. had repeatedly recertified Iran's compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement, acknowledging publicly that Tehran had not begun enriching weapons-grade uranium. Trump, however, insisted that the pact did not go far enough. 

Among Trump's demands were that Iran be barred from manufacturing and testing ballistic missiles, and action be taken to block Tehran's support for groups designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S., such as Hezbollah in Lebanon. Those efforts were unsuccessful, Trump said. 

"It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement," he said at the White House on Tuesday.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden, Sanders to be center stage at first debate Biden, Sanders to be center stage at first debate Poll: Six Dems lead Trump in Florida match-ups MORE (D-Calif.) cast the president's decision as one intended to "score political points." She conceded that the deal was not perfect, but scolded Trump for failing to put forward an alternative proposal. 

"This nuclear deal is not perfect, but it is certainly the best existing tool we have to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and avoid a disastrous military conflict in the Middle East," she said.