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Casey, Toomey issue statements on withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal

Staff report
U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) speaks to the York Dispatch Editorial Board in West Manchester Township, Thursday, April 5, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

President Donald Trump's announcement Tuesday that the U.S. would pull out of the Iran nuclear accord drew vastly different reactions from Pennsylvania's two U.S. senators.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey lauded the decision to withdraw from "the flawed, dangerous Iran nuclear deal."

"The conscious decision by the Obama Administration to push through this agreement, even with bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate opposing it, should have been a clear indication this arrangement jeopardized our security," Toomey said in a statement. "In addition to paving the way for Iran to develop nuclear weapons in a few short years, the (deal) provided immediate sanctions relief and $100 billion to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and the Humane Society host a press conference at the York County SPCA to call for passage of the Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act., Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  John A. Pavoncello photo

Toomey added that the president and Congress must now re-establish previous sanctions in addition to new, harsh sanctions to hold Iran accountable for its attempts to develop nuclear weapons and human rights abuses.

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey strongly disagreed with Trump's decision.

"U.S. military officials, past and present, have said that Iran is complying with the nuclear agreement and that it is in the best national security interest of our nation to keep it in place," Casey said in a statement. "I supported the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) because it was the best available option to substantially constrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions and to improve oversight of their technology. At that time, Iran’s breakout time was only a matter of months."

Casey continued that Trump's decision would increase the possibility of Iran resuming its pursuit of nuclear weapons and make it more difficult to reach an agreement with North Korea to constrain its nuclear program.