Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: Pulling Out of Iran Deal Escalates Nuclear Threat, CAP’s Kelly Magsamen Says
Press Statement

STATEMENT: Pulling Out of Iran Deal Escalates Nuclear Threat, CAP’s Kelly Magsamen Says

Washington, D.C. – After President Donald Trump took steps to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, Kelly Magsamen, vice president for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal is dangerous and could not come at a worse time. At the same time his administration attempts to resolve one nuclear crisis in East Asia, President Trump has set into motion a second nuclear crisis in the Middle East by putting Iran back on the path to a nuclear weapon. Trump is also isolating the United States from its allies and making clear that the U.S. does not live up to its own agreements.

It is important to remember the Iran nuclear deal is working and remains in the U.S. national security interest. The deal has verifiably prevented Iran from building a bomb and placed severe restrictions on Iranian nuclear activities in perpetuity.  This agreement does not require the United States to trust the Iranian government. On the contrary, as Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis recently noted, the agreement “is written almost with an assumption that Iran would try to cheat.”

It is true the nuclear deal doesn’t address every outstanding issue between the United States and Iran. But tearing up the deal does not address these issues either.  Instead, it puts the United States and its allies in a position where they must now manage both a nuclear threat and a regional threat simultaneously. It also increases the risk of conflict at a time when there are already a number of potential flashpoints across the Middle East, putting our troops and our regional allies at further risk.  It is increasingly clear that the Trump administration has no coherent Plan B to deal with these dangerous contingencies or to actually prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Instead, the United States should be working together with our allies to constrain Iran while trying to resolve the regional civil wars that allow Tehran to expand its influence across the Middle East. But President Trump seems less interested in protecting America’s national security interests than in pursuing his obsession with undoing the achievements of his predecessor.

For more information or to talk to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at, or 202-478-6327.