Veterans, leaders urge US to withdraw from Iran deal

Published: Updated:

American political leaders pushed for the withdrawal of the United States from the Iran nuclear agreement during an Iranian opposition rally in New York on Wednesday.

Former Trump campaign adviser and ambassador to the United Nations, Jon Bolton, praised US President Donald Trump’s UN speech calling it “the best speech of his presidency”, while calling for the United States to leave this “disastrous [Iran] agreement”.

“I think it’s very important that the United States declare as its official policy that the regime in Iran needs to change. I think the world needs to hear this with clarity,” he said during the rally that was held at the same time as President Hassan Rouhani’s UN General Assembly Speech.

Bolton also warned about the cooperation between Iran and North Korea.

“The fact is the cooperation between the regime in Tehran and Pyongyang has been close for many, many years and whatever accomplishments North Korea makes in the nuclear and ballistic missile fields, the Ayatollahs can have the next day by writing a check that’s large enough,” he said.

“That’s where the real threat comes from, and that’s what I think the world needs to understand. These are not two separate problems here, the North Korean problem and the problem of the Ayatollah’s regime. They are basically the same problem. The axis of evil is not a metaphor, it’s a reality”.

Joe Lieberman, the former Chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, was more forthright in calling for “decertification” of the agreement.

“I think decertification, it’s a good idea and I think the main point is that Iran - contrary to the hopes of the Obama administration - has not changed their behavior overall, ” Lieberman told Al Arabiya English.

“They have complied with some details of the agreement but, they have not given inspectors access to military sites, and we don’t know what they are doing there.”

Experts say legal questions remain whether President Trump has the legal authority to withdraw unilaterally. Lieberman said Trump has the authority to pull out of the Iran deal because it was an agreement signed by President Obama, not a treaty ratified by the Senate.

“I think that President Trump has the right under congressional legislation and as commander-in-chief of the United States to withdraw from the agreement,” Lieberman said.

A senior Democratic Party Congressman on the US Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs called for the review of Iran’s commitment ahead of a declassification.

“What would be better than decertification is to make sure Iran lives up to the agreement, which Iran isn’t doing, with its ballistic missile program and its support for terrorism,” said Congressman Eliot Engel of New York told Al Arabiya English.

President Trump has made up his mind about the agreement though he has yet to announce it.

“I think the Trump administration needs to examine what the Iranian regime has abided by in the agreement. I don’t want to create further instability in the Middle East, and I think we need to be careful,” Engel told Al Arabiya English in New York.

Engel expressed deep concern about Iran’s policies regarding the development of ballistic missiles and its support for regional terrorist groups.

“We have to work with regional allies like Saudi Arabia which is an important country when it comes to countering Iran and the Iranian regime’s influence in the region. I’m concerned about Iran’s destabilization of Syria and Lebanon and threats to Israel, and we can’t let them threaten the whole region.”