The Obama-era Iran nuclear deal is dead, and Georgia lawmakers are cheering.
President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday, May 8, that the United States could no longer certify that Iran was abiding by the requirements of the deal and that he was withdrawing from the arrangement set up by the Obama administration.
Because the deal wasn’t a treaty, which must be vetted and approved by the U.S. Senate, Trump has the power to unilaterally withdraw from it.
The deal was intended by former President Barack Obama’s administration to delay Iran’s capacity to develop nuclear weapons at least another 10 years, hoping in the meantime that its integration into the wider world order would pacify the nation’s aims for regional aggression and antagonism against the United States.
In a national speech, Trump said those aims were no longer possible.
“If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons,” Trump said in a televised address from the White House.
Georgia lawmakers made it clear that they supported Trump’s action on Wednesday.
“I have said from day one that the Iranian regime should never be able to develop a nuclear weapon, and I strongly opposed the original nuclear agreement in 2015,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, who’s a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Georgia’s senior senator criticized the deal for freeing up $50 billion in “frozen assets” — roundly criticized by Republicans as the “pallets of cash” flown into Iran after the deal — and allowing Iran entry into international markets.
“Iran has not stopped its malign behavior in the region, and instead of investing in its own people, the regime has built up its military capabilities,” Isakson said. “Sadly, the nuclear agreement put a time limit on our ability to constrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and it never went far enough to ensure Iran’s commitment to other international agreements.”
Trump pulled out of the deal after Israeli special forces hauled more than 1,000 pounds of Iranian documents related to its nuclear program from the nation’s capital, Tehran.
In his own address, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid out the details of the seized documents, which showed that Iran had mislead nuclear investigators and the United States about the breadth of its nuclear program in the 1990s.
On Wednesday, Netanyahu welcomed news that the United States had withdrawn from the Iran Deal and called Trump’s action a “historic move.” European allies of the United States were steadfast supporters of the Iran deal and opposed Trump’s withdrawal.
Democrats, too, in large part opposed the American withdrawal from the deal. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Trump’s move is a “rash decision (that) isolates America, not Iran.”
Sen. David Perdue, R-Georgia, said Trump was right to take action against iran.
“Rather than punish Iran for its illicit behavior, President Obama’s weak agreement created a pathway for the rogue regime to develop a nuclear weapon due to its sunset clauses and inspection loopholes,” Perdue said in a Wednesday statement. “In fact, this poorly negotiated deal emboldened Iran to continue its ballistic missile program, support of terrorism and aggression toward one of our closest allies, Israel.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, said Iran had “no business increasing its nuclear capabilities.”
“America has no place giving this bad actor legitimacy or economic relief through such a defective agreement,” Collins said in a statement. “Iran must be held accountable, and I believe we can work as a country and with our allies to rein in this rogue nation."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.