100 US Security Experts Warn Trump against Scrapping JCPOA

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A bipartisan group of more than 100 US national security veterans said the United States gains nothing by scrapping the Iran nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

100 US Security Experts Warn Trump against Scrapping JCPOA

The group, including 50 retired military officers and at least four former American ambassadors to Israel, added its voice to a fractious debate over the accord, which US President Donald Trump has called “the worst deal” ever.

In a statement on Monday, the group, which calls itself the “National Coalition to Prevent an Iranian Nuclear Weapon”, enumerated 10 reasons that, in its view, preserving the accord is in the best interests of the United States, the New York Times reported.

They included the determination by United Nations inspectors that the accord is working; the importance of preserving close relations with major European allies, which all support the accord; and the possibility of reaching a nuclear agreement with North Korea, which might not negotiate if it believes that the United States abrogates international pledges.

“President Trump should maintain the US commitment to the Iran nuclear deal,” the signers said in the statement. “Doing so will bring substantial benefits and strengthen America’s hand in dealing with North Korea, as well as Iran, and help maintain the reliability of America’s word and influence as a world leader. Ditching it would serve no national security purpose.”

The signers cover a range of prominent diplomatic and military figures, Democrat and Republican, spanning decades of foreign policy experience. They include Brent Scowcroft, a former national security adviser; Gen. Michael V. Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency; former Senators Richard G. Lugar and Sam Nunn; Adm. Eric T. Olson, former commander of Special Operations Forces; and Adm. William J. Fallon, former commander of the United States Central Command.

Trump has been a vociferous critic of the Iran nuclear deal, which was signed between Tehran and six world powers in 2015.

The statement comes ahead of a May 12 deadline for Trump to decide whether to extend waivers of economic sanctions on Iran, a US commitment under the agreement.

In January, he did extend those waivers, but said the European signatories should fix “the terrible flaws” of the accord by May 12 or he will refuse to do that again.

White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah said Monday that Trump is “prepared to potentially withdraw” from the Iran deal if changes to the agreement are not made.

Earlier this month, Trump brought two anti-Iran hawks into his cabinet, fueling speculation that he could be preparing to withdraw the US from the deal.

Ex-CIA chief Mike Pompeo replaced Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, while John Bolton was picked as Trump’s national security adviser.

Both figures have been critical of the Iran deal, which was inked under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, with Bolton once calling it “the worst act of appeasement in American history.”

Iran maintains that it will not renegotiate JCPOA, an international document endorsed by the Security Council Resolution 2231.

Other parties to the agreement, namely Russia, China, Britain, Germany and France, have all criticized Trump’s hostile views, saying the deal is sound and has proven to be functioning.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is tasked with monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities, has repeatedly verified Tehran's full commitment to its side of the bargain.

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