Nuking The Nuke Deal

Living up to one of his main campaign promises, President Trump today withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear agreement. Calling it a “horrible, one-sided deal” and “defective at its core”, Trump delineated the reasons for withdrawal.

They include, among others, (1) the inability to inspect military sites, (2) lack of restrictions on ballistic missile development, (3) lack of restrictions on financing international terrorist activities and (4) the prospect of turning the region into a nuclear wasteland as neighboring countries develop their own nuclear capability in defense against Iran.

As expected, France, the UK, Germany and a chorus of Democrat politicians at home decry our withdrawal. But, they can’t credibly dispute Trump’s reasons.

For example, as part of the deal, Iran received in excess of $55 billion in payments from the U.S.  Where did the money go? It’s hardly a head scratcher. Since the agreement was signed, Iran’s military budget has grown by almost 40% while its economy remains depressed. Iran has also increased its financing of international terrorism and accelerated the development of its ballistic missile program. Last September, it successfully tested a missile capable of carrying multiple warheads, some or all of which can be nuclear.

In 2016 when the deal was signed, John Kerry acknowledged that some of the payments to Iran would finance terrorist activities. But, he said, the U.S. could do nothing about it.  Those activities have since killed hundreds of Americans. The loss of our lives should not be an acceptable part of the price paid to the leading sponsor of terrorism.

Chuck Schumer and others contend that withdrawing from the Iran deal will impede our ability to negotiate a deal with North Korea. In reality, the opposite is true. Our withdrawal today underscores to Kim Jong Un our determination to strike only deals that are fair to the U.S. Embarrassingly bad agreements went out with the last Administration.