Maloney, Faso respond to U.S. withdrawal from Iran nuke deal (updated)

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney criticized the Trump administation’s announcement on Tuesday that the U.S. will withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, saying the deal halted Iran’s march toward having nuclear weapons and should be improved rather than discarded.

“Sure, the deal’s not perfect – I’ve said that since it was brokered – but you don’t have to end the deal to strengthen it,” the Cold Spring Democrat said in a statement. “If we scrap the deal, abandon our NATO allies, and the Iranians start racing towards a nuclear weapon, we could easily find ourselves in another ground war in the Middle East. I’d feel better if I knew what the president’s plan was for that scenario. I don’t think he’s thought about it.”

Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, applauded the withdrawal, calling the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action a flawed deal that hasn’t changed the behavior of “the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.”

“Their destabilizing activities in the Middle East have resulted in brutal carnage in Syria,” Faso said. “They continue to develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction. And they continue to call for the destruction of the state of Israel. Until Iran decides to abandon its malign activities, the U.S. has no choice but to restore economic sanctions and withdraw from this deal.”

New York’s two Democratic senators had opposing views on the nuclear deal, but both criticized abandoning it.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand condemned “Trump’s shortsighted and dangerous decision” in a statement, saying that the agreement “gave us the critical ability to aggressively monitor and verify Iran’s behavior,” and that leaving it breaks up a coalition with European allies and damages American credibility in upcoming negotiations with North Korea.

“It took years of coordinated international sanctions coupled with diplomacy to reach this accord and it is a mistake to think we can simply restart this process with a clean slate,” Gillibrand said. “I hope that the other parties to the agreement continue to abide by the agreement, and I urge President Trump to reconsider this mistake. Rather than unraveling nuclear oversight, we should be focusing on adding additional levers to address Iran’s dangerous behavior in the region.”

Schumer opposed the agreement but also Trump’s withdrawal, prompting a Twitter taunt from Trump. He argued in a Senate floor speech on Thursday that the deal should be strengthened by adding sanctions to curb other Iranian threats, such as its giving missiles to Hezbollah and sending troops to Syria. He argued the U.S. would need its allies from the nuclear agreement it just spurned to share those sanctions.

“Pulling out of the agreement and really getting our European allies noses way out of joint makes it far harder to enact new sanctions on what I perceive to be the greatest dangers we face,” Schumer said.

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