Bernie Sanders launches passionate defence of Iran Deal and attacks Trump's threat to scrap it

'We must protect this agreement,' Mr Sanders said

Alexandra Wilts
Washington DC
Thursday 21 September 2017 21:59 BST
Senator Bernie Sanders
Senator Bernie Sanders (Getty)

Bernie Sanders has called on Congress to protect the Iran nuclear deal, days after Donald Trump labelled the agreement “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into”.

“I call on my colleagues in the Congress, and all Americans: We must protect this agreement. President Trump has signalled his intention to walk away from it, as he did the Paris agreement, regardless of the evidence that it is working. This would be a serious mistake,” the Independent senator said during an address at Westminster College in Missouri.

In his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly this week, Mr Trump promised to revisit the deal, saying the US “cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear programme.”

On Wednesday, the US leader told reporters he had decided whether the US would withdraw from the deal, but refused to say what that decision was.

Mr Trump’s criticism of the deal has put him at odds with other world leaders, including the UK's Prime Minister Theresa May, who has called the agreement “vital”, and France’s President Emmanuel Macron. Mr Macon on Tuesday said the nuclear deal was “essential for peace”.

Under the 2015 agreement with six world powers – including the US, UK and France – Iran agreed to restrict its nuclear programme for at least 10 years in exchange for the loosening of economic sanctions that had crippled its economy.

The US has until October 15 to recertify the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Over the weekend, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that while Iran was technically complying with its commitments in the agreement, it was also supporting terrorist organisations and backing militias in Yemen and Syria.

But on Thursday, Mr Sanders praised the Obama administration for negotiating the Iran deal, calling it an example of “real leadership” and “real power.”

The potential 2020 presidential candidate also argued that backing away from the agreement could hurt America's ability to cut deals in the future, echoing similar remarks made by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani.

During his own speech to the UN General Assemby, Mr Rouhani said that if the US decides to scrap the deal negotiated by the Obama administration, the nation would only demolish its own credibility.

“It will be a great pity if this agreement were to be destroyed by rogue newcomers to the world of politics,” Mr Rouhani said

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