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Kinzinger supports Trump leaving Iran deal

Congressman calls for a comprehensive plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear accord with Iran on Tuesday, restoring sanctions.

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, said he supports the president's action.

The 2015 agreement, which was negotiated by the Obama administration and included Germany, France and Britain, had lifted most U.S. and international economic sanctions against Iran. In exchange, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program, making it impossible to produce a bomb and establishing rigorous inspections.

Kinzinger called the Iran Deal of 2015 a "terrible agreement for the United States," saying it had strengthened a sponsor of terrorism and a U.S. international rival with "billions of dollars and an emboldened sense of power to threaten our national security."

“We know the true intentions of the Iranian regime and we know they have continued to wreak havoc across the Middle East," Kinzinger said in a press statement. "The Iranian regime has used their sanctions relief to fund terrorist proxies like Hezbollah and Hamas and to prop up the murderous Bashar al Assad regime in its Syrian genocide. We cannot sit back and pretend that Iran’s aggression in the Middle East, and their nuclear ambitions, won’t affect our own national security."

Kinzinger said Trump delivered a strong message, but he urged more action.

“I urge the president and his administration to deliver a comprehensive plan that will hold Iran accountable, protect our national security, and firmly restrict Iran’s ballistic missile weapons and nuclear program," Kinzinger said.

Trump, a critic of the deal dating back to his presidential campaign, said in a televised address from the White House that the plan was "defective at its core."

U.S. allies in Europe had tried to keep him in and lamented his move to abandon it. Iran's leader ominously warned his country might "start enriching uranium more than before."

The sanctions seek to punish Iran for its nuclear program by limiting its ability to sell oil or do business overseas, affecting a wide range of Iranian economic sectors and individuals.

Major companies in the U.S. and Europe could be hurt, too. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that licenses held by Boeing and its European competitor Airbus to sell billions of dollars in commercial jetliners to Iran will be revoked. Certain exemptions are to be negotiated, but Mnuchin refused to discuss what products might qualify.

He said the sanctions will sharply curtail sales of oil by Iran, which is currently the world's fifth largest oil producer. Mnuchin said he didn't expect oil prices to rise sharply, forecasting that other producers will step up production.

Iran's government must now decide whether to follow the U.S. and withdraw or try to salvage what's left with the Europeans. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he was sending his foreign minister to the remaining countries but warned there was only a short time to negotiate with them.

Laying out his case, Trump contended, "If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world's leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world's most dangerous weapons."

The administration said it would re-impose sanctions on Iran immediately but allow grace periods for businesses to wind down activity. Companies and banks doing business with Iran will have to scramble to extricate themselves or run afoul of the U.S. government.

Former President Barack Obama, whose administration negotiated the deal, called Trump's action "misguided" and said, "The consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to risks eroding America's credibility and puts us at odds with the world's major powers."

Yet nations like Israel and Saudi Arabia that loathed the deal saw the action as a sign the United States is returning to a more skeptical, less trusting approach to dealing with adversaries.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Trump's announcement as a "historic move."

Trump, who repeatedly criticized the accord during his presidential campaign, said Tuesday that documents recently released by Netanyahu showed Iran had attempted to develop a nuclear bomb in the previous decade, especially before 2003. Although Trump gave no explicit evidence that Iran violated the deal, he said Iran had clearly lied in the past and could not be trusted.

Iran has denied ever pursuing nuclear arms.

There was a mixed reaction from Congress. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said the Iran deal "was flawed from the beginning," and he looked forward to working with Trump on next steps. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, slammed Trump in a statement, saying this "rash decision isolates America, not Iran."

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