President-elect Donald Trump is being urged not to withdraw the United States from the international nuclear agreement with Iran.
Members of Trump’s Republican Party and other opponents are saying it is better to keep the existing agreement and try to improve it.
Trump strongly criticized the nuclear agreement during his presidential campaign. He called it a “disaster” and the “worst deal ever negotiated.”
During a speech to a pro-Israel group in March, Trump said as president, he would seek to end “the disastrous deal with Iran.”
However, Iran and U.S. allies in Europe have urged the new administration to honor the agreement. The deal was signed by Iran and six world powers in July 2015. It eased economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on Tehran’s nuclear program.
Iran has rejected calls to renegotiate the agreement. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged Trump last week to honor the deal, saying it was not an agreement "for one side to be able to scrap.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry took a lead role in negotiating the agreement and called it “the good deal we had sought.” But many Republicans in the U.S. Congress have been highly critical of it.
The deal was created as a political commitment rather than a treaty. The United Nations Security Council resolution that approved it does not require its members to accept it. Legal experts say this means the new administration could simply take no action if it chooses to do so.
Edward Swaine is a law professor at George Washington University and a former legal adviser to the U.S. State Department. He said the U.S. would not face any direct international legal consequences if it decided to pull out of the agreement.
However, some opponents in Congress have changed earlier opinions that the agreement should be canceled. They are now calling for tighter sanctions on Iran and for the agreement to be strictly enforced.
Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He said this week he does not think “tearing up the agreement” is the right thing to do. He told reporters Monday he thinks Washington should work with its allies to enforce the existing agreement without negotiating a new deal.
“To me the best route for the new president to handle this is to push back on the violations that are taking place today,” Corker was quoted by the Times Free Press newspaper as saying.
Corker said the nuclear deal made it possible for Iran to get back “billions of dollars” of money seized by the U.S. He added that over time, the agreement means Iran could “end up in a much stronger position than they were in the beginning.”
The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a conservative research organization in Washington D.C., agrees. The group was an early supporter of a "stop the Iran nuclear deal" campaign and urged members of Congress to block the deal. However, the group now opposes canceling it.
Orde Kittrie is a senior fellow at the foundation. He says if the U.S. withdrew from the deal, Iran would feel free to ignore the restrictions on its nuclear program. He said it would also be very hard to bring back sanctions if the agreement is renegotiated.
I’m Bryan Lynn.
Masood Farivar reported this story for VOANews.com. Bryan Lynn adapted it for Learning English, with additional material from Reuters. was the editor.
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Words in This Story
worst – adj. the least useful, helpful or appropriate way
sanctions – n. restrictions imposed on a country as a way to try to get it to obey international laws
scrap – v. get rid of something
consequences - n. actions that happen as a result of a set of conditions
route - n. way of doing or achieving something
foundation – n. organization created and supported with money to help various causes