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Decertifying Iran Deal Would Be a ‘Catastrophic Mistake,’ Sen. Murphy Tells CAP Action Fund Audience
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Decertifying Iran Deal Would Be a ‘Catastrophic Mistake,’ Sen. Murphy Tells CAP Action Fund Audience

Washington, D.C. — Any move by the Trump administration to decertify the deal that has prevented Iran from building a nuclear weapon would be a “catastrophic mistake,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) told an audience Wednesday at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

The Connecticut Democrat called the issue of continuing the Iran nuclear agreement “a true make-or-break moment for the world, especially as the U.S. faces a growing crisis with North Korea.”

Ripping up the agreement “sends a signal that American presidents cannot be trusted to uphold deals done by prior presidents,” Murphy said. He also harshly criticized President Donald Trump’s broader foreign policy as “a giant, smoldering, slow-motion car crash. You see it happen, you know that people are likely going to be killed, but you can’t avert your eyes.”

His comments came during a CAP Action Fund event that included a panel discussion of U.S. policy on Iran, North Korea, and the intersection between the two.

Trump has called the 2015 deal “an embarrassment” ahead of an October 15 deadline to certify whether Iran is complying with the pact. But other major powers who negotiated the deal believe it is working and view it as critical to stability in the region.

Wendy Sherman, former undersecretary of state for political affairs, said scrapping the Iran deal would deal a blow to efforts to negotiate with North Korea.

“It is one thing as a tactic to be unpredictable in a negotiation, but it is not useful in diplomacy to be unreliable and not credible,” she said. “And that is what we’ll face, not just with the Koreans, but with NAFTA, with any trade deal that we want to do in the world, with any deal we want to do about pretty much anything.”

Jake Sullivan, former national security adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden and former director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department, said Trump’s posturing has backfired.

“What the president’s game playing and bad faith has done in the past few months has made the United States and our decisions and our actions the story—not Iran,” Sullivan said. “It’s relieved the pressure on Iran; it’s removed the spotlight from Iran. And the net consequence of that is to reduce the possibility of us rallying the world to secure that quote-unquote better deal.”

Kelly Magsamen, vice president for national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund and former principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and pacific security affairs, said it would be “strategic malpractice” for the Trump administration to destabilize one region of the world at the same time it’s trying to manage the North Korea crisis.

“One crisis can consume an experienced and well-functioning team,” Magsamen said. “This team has not been tested by a real crisis yet, and a self-inflicted one would be even worse.”

Click here to see a video of the full event.

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For more information, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel.af@americanprogressaction.org or 202-478-6327.