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Cory Gardner defends Trump’s decision to ditch Iran nuclear deal; Michael Bennet calls it “reckless”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner said Tuesday that he supported President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, and he suggested the U.S. should work with its allies to seek new economic sanctions against Tehran.
The backing from Gardner, R-Colo., comes amid outcry from European allies and former Obama administration officials, as well as uncertainty on whether U.S. allies would even work with the Trump administration on a new deal.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, however, called Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal “reckless.”
“Since taking office, President Trump has produced no strategy to counter Iran’s malevolent activities across the Middle East, all of which would be more dangerous if backed by a nuclear weapon,” Bennet said. “U.S. intelligence has assessed Iran is in compliance with the (agreement), and the president has offered no alternative path forward to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear capabilities.”
But Gardner said the move was a long overdue.
“I think the Iran deal was flawed from the beginning,” said Gardner in a brief interview just off from the Senate floor. “The fact is the Iran deal guaranteed a nuclear future for Iran — a patient pathway to a nuclear bomb.”
“We now have a chance through sanctions and working with our European allies to actually have a deal that creates a nuclear-free … future for Iran,” he added. “We have to double down on our sanctions, we have to get our European allies and (our allies) around the globe to put pressure on Iran to achieve what was entirely missed by the Iran deal, and that’s denuclearization.”
How Colorado’s other U.S. lawmakers responded:
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Windsor: “President Obama entered into the Iranian agreement without the advice and consent of Congress or our Mideast allies. Iran continues to conduct rogue activities by financing terrorism and destabilizing the middle east. I applaud President Trump’s strong actions supporting Israel and promoting lasting peace.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora: “I support the move to scrap the ‘Iran Deal’ that never provided for unfettered access of suspected Iranian facilities, never prohibited the testing of ballistic missiles, and that only provided for a 10-year limit on the development of nuclear weapons. A new agreement should be negotiated that allows for unlimited inspections, bans the testing of ballistic missiles and that never allows Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.”
U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver: “.@POTUS’ #sanctions announcement is a setback both for U.S. international leadership and global stability. The #IranDeal is designed to maintain the goal of a non-nuclear #Iran; we shouldn’t break our obligations now, but should instead work w/ other countries toward that goal.”
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs: “Former President Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal with Iran gave the Islamic regime hundreds of millions of dollars to export terrorism around the world and more gravely, a path to nuclear weapons. The deal made no mention of Iran’s ballistic missiles program and their human rights abuses. It ultimately allows Iran to start proliferating after the deal expires. It’s a welcome change to have an Administration that takes Iran at its word that they want to destroy our country, our allies, and our way of life. Understanding this threat is the only way we can make our country safe again. I echo President Trump’s gratitude to Israel for uncovering key intelligence that helped in the decision to pull out of the deal, and I also extend the same message of hope to the Iranian people suffering under this brutal regime.”
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Arvada: “Today’s decision by President Trump creates more chaos and uncertainty which hurts our standing with our allies and jeopardizes international security. As a nuclear non-proliferation agreement, the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was intended to limit Iran’s ability to develop or manufacture nuclear bombs and reduce nuclear tensions in the Middle East. The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed Iran is complying with the terms of the (agreement), as has President Trump’s own administration and our international allies.”
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder: “I’m disappointed by President Trump’s haphazard and reckless announcement that gives up our nuclear inspection capabilities and brings Iran closer to obtaining nuclear weapons. The U.S. must lead strongly and deliberately. When we waver, we harm our relationship with our allies, diminish our international credibility and make the world less safe.”
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez: “The nuclear deal agreed upon by the previous Administration and Iran was dangerously flawed, which is why I voted against the proposed agreement nearly three years ago. Instead of explicitly prohibiting the world’s leading state sponsor of terror from building nuclear weapons, it permitted Iran to maintain nuclear infrastructure and eased economic sanctions to make the country’s path to a nuclear weapon more attainable. All the United States got out of this deal was a weak promise from the Iranian regime that it would not expand upon the program. Furthermore, this agreement would have sunsetted in just 10 years. It was both naïve and reckless for the previous Administration to place so much trust in a regime so committed to backing terrorism, and one that has repeatedly called for the destruction of the United States and Israel. I encourage the President and Secretary of State Pompeo to work towards a stronger deal that would actually prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and also address its ballistic missile program. As always, I remain committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to defend the United States and our allies against Iran’s dangerous activities.”Content originally published by the Denver Post on May 8, 2018.