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January 23, 2020 11:29 am

Bloomberg Criticizes Trump’s Withdrawal From Iran Deal, Despite Opposition to It

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Former New York City Mayor and possible 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks at the Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, US, January 29, 2019. Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder. – Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, said that while he opposed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), he did not agree with US President Donald Trump withdrawing America from it in May 2018, reported Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Wednesday.

In 2015, Bloomberg expressed “deep reservations” about the nuclear agreement.

“Mike was initially against the Iran deal, but thinks it was a mistake for President Trump to unilaterally walk away from it,” a Bloomberg campaign spokesman told JTA.

After exiting the agreement, the Trump administration reimposed sanctions lifted under it, along with enacting new financial penalties on Iran as part of its “maximum pressure campaign” on the regime.

“While the agreement was not perfect—it did not address Iran’s ballistic-missile program, and it gave the regime political cover to step up its aggression in the region—the US had an obligation to keep its word once the agreement was in place,” said the spokesperson. “The US withdrawal has allowed Iran to abandon its own obligations under the deal and has left the world with few tools to stop it.”

The spokesperson also said what Bloomberg would do about the issue if elected president.

“The first thing to do is re-establish the coalition that realized the danger of Iran marching toward a nuclear weapon. Collective pressure will be needed to change Iran’s behavior,” said the spokesperson. “This should be the starting point for the use of diplomacy. We should also be prepared to employ the leverage that sanctions have provided.

“Next, Iran must come back into compliance with the JCPOA requirements. That will require addressing the advances it is likely to make between now and next year—advances that could shrink its breakout time. After rejoining, in order for any new arrangement to be sustainable, we must also be ready to address other inadequacies in the deal, which include the need to extend fast-approaching sunset clauses, curtail Iran’s ballistic missiles, end its destabilizing regional activities and institute more intrusive monitoring.”

Democratic presidential candidates who have pledged to re-enter the United States in the Iran deal include Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.); Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.); former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii); former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.); entrepreneur Andrew Yang; and billionaire Tom Steyer.

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