In 2015, I was invited on a conference call with President Obama for a group briefing on the details of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. The plan of action consisted of Iran agreeing to a long-term deal on its nuclear program with world powers. Under the terms of this historic deal, the E3/EU+3 (China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) and the Islamic Republic of Iran welcomed this historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which would ensure that Iran’s nuclear program would be exclusively peaceful, and marked a fundamental shift in their approach to this issue. They anticipated that full implementation of this JCPOA would positively contribute to regional and international peace and security. Iran reaffirmed that under no circumstances would Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.
In consideration of the resolutions, we agreed to lift sanctions levied on Iran. The sanctions that were previously imposed by the United Nations, United States, and European Union significantly crippled Iran’s economy, costing the country more than $160 billion in oil revenue from 2012 to 2016. Iran estimated that the fall in oil exports was costing the country almost $8 billion each month. As a part of the negotiations for getting sanctions lifted, Iran agreed to reduce its Uranium Enrichment Program to a commercial level, stop its research of nuclear proliferation, and we gained the right to have representatives from partnering countries enter Iran and inspect nuclear sites for compliance.
Recently, the actions of the Trump Administration have decimated all means of diplomatic measures taken by a host of world powers including our own to sensibly be able to negotiate peaceful terms with Iran. The first blunder this administration made was pulling away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action/Iran Deal. It was partisan and untimely. It lacked reason and wisdom. The second blunder was President Trump ordering the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani. So far there has been no evidence of United States or our citizens being under any imminent danger. It was hasty and has placed the United States on the brink of War. Following the assassination of General Soleimani, there has been huge crowds consisting of over 1,000,000 Iranian citizens pouring into the streets in solidarity and in protests against America.
This action stimulated two air strikes on US bases in Iraq, strained our diplomatic relationships with our allies, increased threats to neighboring allies near Iran, and significantly placed the lives of American citizens and our soldiers in jeopardy. Americans are not safer now.
The United States desperately need leaders who can stand on the world stage and use diplomacy as a foundation for peaceful negotiations so that we do not hastily force our sons and daughters into war. No family should lose their loved ones to unnecessary conflicts and more wars.
What we need is a New Path Forward!