National security veterans urge Trump not to scrap Iran nuclear deal

A bipartisan group of more than 100 US national security experts -- including nearly 50 retired military officers and...

Posted: Mar 27, 2018 7:35 PM
Updated: Mar 27, 2018 7:35 PM

A bipartisan group of more than 100 US national security experts -- including nearly 50 retired military officers and more than 30 former ambassadors -- is urging President Donald Trump to remain in the Iran nuclear deal as sources say it is becoming increasingly likely he will withdraw.

The statement titled "Keep the Iran deal -- 10 Good Reasons Why" calls on Trump to "maintain the US commitment to the Iran nuclear deal" as doing so will "strengthen America's hand in dealing with North Korea, as well as Iran, and help maintain the reliability of America's word and influence as a world leader."

"Ditching it would serve no national security purpose," the statement said.

Penned by a group that calls itself the National Coalition to Prevent an Iranian Nuclear Weapon, the coordinated message comes as US officials are taking a two-track approach to the deal -- negotiating with allies to make changes demanded by Trump even as they prepare to walk away from the international agreement.

Trump set a May 12 deadline -- the next date by which he has to waive sanctions against Iran or leave the deal -- for the US and its European allies to agree on changes to address what he sees as its flaws.

The President's thinking, officials say, is that if the US and Europe are united on amending the deal, the other signatories -- Russia and China -- will come along, and Iran will have no choice but to comply.

But Trump himself has dismissed the deal as "terrible," and recent changes within the administration giving Iran hawks John Bolton and Mike Pompeo significant influence on the issue, mean many officials in the US and Europe are bracing for Washington to abandon the agreement.

Against that backdrop, US officials leading the negotiations with European allies say that at the same time, they are readying contingency plans should Trump decide to pull the US out.

By releasing a joint statement on Monday, the group of more than 100 national security veterans join a shrinking contingency within the administration that has advised the President to remain in the deal -- which notably includes Defense Secretary James Mattis.

The group argues that maintaining a US commitment to the deal will not only enhance US and regional security by implementing unprecedented international monitoring of Iran's nuclear program but will also set a precedent for future dealings with emerging threats like North Korea.

"North Korea could not claim that the US abrogates agreements without cause and would be more likely to negotiate an end to its nuclear program," the statement said.

Remaining in the accord will also help strengthen US leadership on the world stage and bolster relations with key European allies, the group argues.

"US relations with major European allies, who all oppose US withdrawal, would be preserved for advancing US national security interests beyond the nuclear deal," the statement said. "The US will build credibility and retain influence with its negotiating partners to ensure strict implementation with the agreement, be able to lead efforts to strengthen it, or garner strong support for imposing additional sanctions if necessary."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 343505

Reported Deaths: 7543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23932444
DeSoto23229283
Harrison20527329
Rankin15411291
Jackson15232252
Madison10959227
Lee10719179
Jones9047169
Forrest8723159
Lauderdale7884244
Lowndes7054151
Lamar702989
Lafayette6548124
Washington5595139
Pearl River5196152
Bolivar4954134
Oktibbeha494398
Panola4771112
Warren4728128
Marshall4701106
Pontotoc447773
Union433279
Monroe4330137
Neshoba4281181
Hancock428088
Lincoln4176116
Pike3667113
Leflore3627125
Tate353388
Alcorn350974
Sunflower347694
Scott341176
Adams340988
Yazoo339376
Copiah324968
Simpson322891
Itawamba314680
Coahoma314085
Tippah306568
Prentiss298863
Covington293484
Leake285475
Marion284181
Wayne277543
George272251
Grenada269488
Newton262364
Tishomingo239770
Winston236784
Jasper230648
Stone229637
Attala226373
Chickasaw219060
Holmes200174
Clay197654
Clarke186880
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181332
Smith179235
Yalobusha171540
Walthall145748
Lawrence142826
Greene140134
Amite137543
Noxubee135235
Perry133538
Montgomery133044
Carroll126431
Webster121232
Jefferson Davis116734
Tunica114227
Benton106725
Claiborne105331
Kemper102429
Humphreys100133
Franklin87923
Quitman84719
Choctaw82619
Wilkinson78032
Jefferson71328
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 587405

Reported Deaths: 11536
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson853851591
Mobile48932864
Madison37517533
Shelby27280257
Tuscaloosa27171465
Montgomery26172627
Baldwin25399329
Lee17224181
Calhoun15401334
Morgan15170291
Etowah14954370
Marshall13116235
Houston12077293
Elmore10915219
St. Clair10763252
Limestone10725158
Cullman10546205
Lauderdale10255254
DeKalb9508192
Talladega8949188
Walker7793288
Autauga7563114
Jackson7400117
Blount7362139
Colbert6703142
Coffee6365132
Dale5650117
Russell480243
Chilton4771117
Covington4749125
Franklin458181
Tallapoosa4519156
Escambia441383
Chambers3949125
Dallas3743163
Clarke371263
Marion3463107
Pike332579
Lawrence3263100
Winston298773
Bibb290465
Geneva283983
Marengo262467
Barbour250961
Pickens245562
Butler240872
Hale235578
Fayette227065
Henry213945
Monroe202141
Randolph201144
Cherokee199248
Washington185239
Macon170552
Crenshaw168358
Clay166259
Cleburne161345
Lamar151038
Lowndes145455
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh121332
Coosa118329
Perry110528
Sumter110333
Greene99137
Choctaw64425
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