Former President Barack Obama issued a rare public statement Tuesday following President Donald Trump's announcement that the United States would be exiting the Iran deal.
Throughout Obama's statement, he defended and explained the value of the deal, which he says "has significantly rolled back Iran's nuclear program."
"The reality is clear," Obama said. "The JCPOA is working – that is a view shared by our European allies, independent experts, and the current U.S. Secretary of Defense."
Obama contended that walking away from the deal–known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA–jeopardizes diplomacy with North Korea and risks America's credibility with the world's major powers.
"Debates in our country should be informed by facts, especially debates that have proven to be divisive," Obama said.
He went on to describe how the JCPOA was not just an agreement between the U.S. and Iran but also concerned the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the European Union, Russia, and China.
He explained why he thinks the JCPOA has been a success, saying it has "worked in rolling back Iran’s nuclear program," "does not rely on trust" but on "inspections and verification," and has been complied with.
"Finally, the JCPOA was never intended to solve all our problems with Iran," he said.
"Because of these facts, I believe that the decision to put the JCPOA at risk without any Iranian violation of the deal is a serious mistake," Obama wrote.
Leaving the deal, Obama argued, potentially leaves the U.S. with a "losing choice between a nuclear-armed Iran or another war in the Middle East."
"In a dangerous world, America must be able to rely in part on strong, principled diplomacy to secure our country," he said.
Trump announced Tuesday afternoon that the U.S. would withdraw from the deal and reinstate sanctions on Iran. During the announcement, the president said the "Iran deal is defective at its core."
"The so-called Iran deal was supposed to protect the United States and our allies from the lunacy of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a weapon that will only endanger the survival of the Iranian regime," Trump said. "In fact, the deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium, and over time, reach the brink of a nuclear breakout. The deal lifted crippling economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for very weak limits on the regime's nuclear activity, and no limits at all on its other malign behavior, including its sinister activities in Syria, Yemen, and other places all around the world."
"We have also consulted with our friends from across the Middle East," Trump said. "We are unified in our understanding of the threat and in our conviction that Iran must never acquire a nuclear weapon. After these consultations, it is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement."