October 13, 2017

Senator Cardin: Trump Non-Certification of Iran JCPOA Is a ‘Reckless, Political Decision’ that ‘Directly Threatens U.S. National Security’

“Not even one year into his Presidency, this is one of the most dangerous and consequential decisions the President has made imperiling U.S. national security. We will not buy into the false premise that it is Congress’ role to legislate solutions to problems of his own making.”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Friday after President Trump’s announcement that he will not certify Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), despite producing no factual or material evidence to warrant a non-certification:

“I strongly disagree with the President’s reckless, political decision and his subsequent threat to Congress.  At a moment when the United States and its allies face a nuclear crisis with North Korea, the President has manufactured a new crisis that will isolate us from our allies and partners, compromising our ability to employ a diplomatic surge on the Korean Peninsula.  Despite his assertions to the contrary, the President’s rhetoric and actions today directly threaten U.S. national security and damage our credibility and reputation on the world stage.  

“The Administration should have been working with Congress since January to develop and implement a comprehensive Iran policy.  A serious policy would keep the JCPOA in place, demand rigorous enforcement of the agreement, and take steps to push back on Iran’s troubling, non-nuclear aggression.  It should include a plan for building coalitions to respond to Iran’s violations of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, its support for the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and its activities that are destabilizing U.S. partners across the Middle East and threatening Israel. 

“Unfortunately, the President has failed to implement the sanctions on Iran passed overwhelmingly by Congress in July and has chosen a path that makes addressing all other elements of a comprehensive Iran policy more difficult by imposing self-inflicted international isolation on the United States. 

“At a time when the world should be united in focusing on Iran’s bad actions, instead the President has opened up the United States to international criticism and challenge.

“Not even one year into his Presidency, this is one of the most dangerous and consequential decisions the President has made imperiling U.S. national security.

“I also have concerns related to the termination of Iran’s obligations under the JCPOA and the regime’s non-nuclear aggression. But the lead for addressing these concerns is the President and the executive branch of our government.  Instead, he is abdicating his leadership role to Congress, just like with Dreamers and just like with affirming and strengthening our health care system. It is a troubling pattern.  We will not buy into the false premise that it is Congress’ role to legislate solutions to problems of his own making.

“Moving forward, I am ready to work with my colleagues to ensure that U.S. national security is protected despite the President’s dangerous announcement today.  It is now up to Congress to show the world that there is bipartisan support for the United States to uphold its commitments, including the JCPOA.  We must move forward with the recognition that we have a President who is not concerned about America’s reputation, not committed to its relationships, and is willing to gamble with America’s national security.”