Dems hammer Trump over withdrawal from Iran deal

Democrats swiftly condemned President TrumpDonald John TrumpTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill FDA head pledges 'we will not cut corners' on coronavirus vaccine Let our values drive COVID-19 liability protection 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) MenendezSenators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report VOA visa decision could hobble Venezuela coverage Bottom line 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 ShaheenThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani says DC policymakers need to do more to support ventures and 'solo-preneurs'; Federal unemployment benefits expire as coronavirus deal-making deadlocks Overnight Defense: Pompeo pressed on move to pull troops from Germany | Panel abruptly scraps confirmation hearing | Trump meets family of slain soldier Shaheen, Chabot call for action on new round of PPP loans 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 PelosiTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill No signs of breakthrough for stalemated coronavirus talks Governors air frustrations with Trump on unemployment plans 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 KaineHillary Clinton roasts NYT's Maureen Dowd over column Ex-USAID employee apologizes, denies sending explosive tweets USAID appointee alleges 'rampant anti-Christian sentiment' at agency 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 DurbinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Negotiators signal relief bill stuck, not dead White House officials, Democrats spar over legality, substance of executive orders Sunday shows - Trump coronavirus executive orders reverberate 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 HarrisHarris favored as Biden edges closer to VP pick The Hill's Campaign Report: LIVE: Trump from Gettysburg | The many unknowns of 2020 | Omar among those facing primary challenges Sens. Markey, Cruz clash over coronavirus relief: 'It's not a goddamn joke Ted' 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.