By Mark Reynolds
Rhode Island’s lawmakers in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday strafed President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of an agreement with Iran and impose sanctions on the country.
Meanwhile, some others, elsewhere in the political sphere, supported the president. U.S. Rep. David N. Cicilline was not one of them.
“This is a reckless decision,” said the member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who called the inspection routine set up for keeping nuclear weapons away from Iran “the most intrusive in the history of the world.”
U.S. Rep. James Langevin, a senior member of the House Armed Service and Homeland Security Committees, called Trump’s decision a threat to national security.
To walk away from the agreement negotiated under the Obama administration, said Langevin, “abandons our allies, weakens our credibility, and harms our ability to foster similar diplomatic agreements in the future. Worse, it undermines the central goal of the agreement — to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The fact is that the nuclear deal is working.”
Said U.S. Sen. Jack Reed: “It is irresponsible for President Trump to abandon this international agreement and needlessly isolate the United States in the absence of an Iranian violation and without presenting a credible alternative to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”
Like Cicilline, U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said the policy is “reckless.” He also called it “reflexive.”
“The President’s refusal to waive sanctions puts the United States in violation of the nuclear agreement, moves the United States away from our allies, and reopens a path for Iran to obtain the nuclear arms it seeks,” Whitehouse said.
All of Rhode Island’s elected representatives in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives are Democrats.
Trump’s decision won applause from a former Rhode Island Supreme Court justice, Republican Robert Flanders, who has mounted a bid to unseat Whitehouse in this year’s midterm elections.
“Now, with new economic sanctions placed on Iran, and a president who puts America’s interests first, the United States will be able to negotiate a better, more enforceable agreement to protect the world’s safety,” Flanders said.
Another Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, Bobby Nardolillo, said that Trump will “impose the strongest unilateral sanctions available on Iran” within six months.
He said he anticipates that the Iranians will exchange “their traditional chant of ‘Death to America’ for one much closer to ‘Let’s Make a Deal!
“When that happens,” he said. “I hope the president gets some credit for real leadership on the world stage.”
The preexisting agreement with Iran has also drawn fire in recent days from the Rhode Island Coalition for Israel. The group of Jewish and Christian residents says Iranian documents, obtained by Israel, undermine the deal.
“The administration,” said the coalition in a May 4 statement, “has hard choices to make about keeping nuclear weapons out of Iran’s hands and pushing back on Iran’s destabilizing behavior, especially in the Middle East.”