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Ben Rhodes: Trump Made the Iran Deal More Popular Than Ever

In Trying To Undo Obama's Legacy, Trump Only Increased the JCPOA's Popularity

Thursday, February 10 2022

On Wednesday’s episode of Pod Save the World, Former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said that President Trump’s efforts to dismantle former President Obama’s legacy by trashing the Iran deal had backfired spectacularly and only increased its popularity. “We’ve seen what it was like with the deal, we’ve seen what it was like without it,” Rhodes told journalist Alex Wagner. “Tearing up the JCPOA made it look a lot better.”

Under the seven-party nuclear deal, Iran’s had to reduce its stockpile of uranium by 98%, dismantle facilities and keep its level of uranium enrichment at 3.67%, significantly below the enrichment level needed to create a bomb.  After Trump withdrew Iran began developing new centrifuges to accelerate enrichment and has increased its stockpile. Iran’s capacity to develop a nuclear weapon is now closer than ever before.

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut stressed the urgency of returning to a deal earlier this week. “Time is of the essence,” he said in a Senate floor speech Tuesday.

Polling has shown consistently that the Iran deal remains highly popular among voters. Almost 60 percent of the general public support re-entry into the JCPOA. 

The decision by the Trump administration to withdraw from the deal was driven by emotions, Alex Wagner said on Wednesday’s Pod Save the World episode. “It was such a vindictive maneuver when it was reversed. It was so much part of a broader portfolio of just destroying everything that Obama did,” Wagner said. “Trump’s goal was to just destroy everything Obama had built.” 

WATCH NOW: Ben Rhodes and Alex Wagner discuss a return to the JCPOA

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