WASHINGTON - More than 80 experts on nuclear non-proliferation issues urged the Trump administration Wednesday to not abandon the global agreement reached with Iran to curb Tehran's nuclear weapons development program.
The group, including numerous academics and some former U.S. State Department officials, said the pact that took effect in January 2016 “has dramatically reduced the risk posed by Iran's nuclear program and mandated unprecedented monitoring and transparency measures that make it very likely that any possible future effort by Iran to pursue nuclear weapons, even a clandestine program, would be detected promptly.”
The agreement among six world powers — Russia, China, France, Germany, Britain and the U.S. — and Iran was supported by former U.S. President Barack Obama. Current U.S. President Donald Trump has criticized the deal but not moved to withdraw the U.S. from it. Economic sanctions against Iran were dropped in exchange for Tehran limiting its nuclear program.
Last week, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, called the deal a “very flawed and very limited agreement” and contended that “Iran has been caught in multiple violations over the past year-and-a-half.”
The nuclear non-proliferation experts said they “firmly support vigorous efforts to monitor and enforce compliance” with the agreement. The group said it was “concerned by statements from the Trump administration that it may be seeking to create a false pretext for accusing Iran of noncooperation or noncompliance with the agreement in order to trigger the reimposition of nuclear-related sanctions against Iran.”
They said that abandoning the deal “without clear evidence of an unresolved material breach by Iran ... runs the risk that Tehran would resume some of its nuclear activities.”