Trump Sanctions (copy)

 Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) file

South Carolina lawmakers and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley showed immediate support for President Donald Trump's unilateral move to back out of the nuclear agreement with Iran.

"The president absolutely made the right decision," Haley said in a statement from the United Nations.

"This was a terrible deal that only allowed Iran's bad international conduct to worsen," she said, adding the Middle East nation should never be allowed to arm itself with nuclear weapons or be allowed to threaten U.S. allies through terror.

U.S. Tim Scott, R-S.C., also backed getting out of the deal.

"The Iran deal has been flawed from the beginning," he said in a statement from his office.

"The previous administration branded Iran as a top state sponsor of terrorism, which only solidifies the fact that their leadership cannot be trusted," he added. "Yet over the past two years we have relied on a sub par agreement to restrict their threatening behavior, and it has only continued to embolden their aggressive tactics."

U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., concurred.

“I’ve long spoken against the Iran nuclear deal based on money going from the U.S. taxpayer in that direction, based on the fact that I believe it will reward the wrong behaviors and based on the fact that I don’t believe it would lead to a non-nuclearized Iran,” he told The Post and Courier.

Trump announced Tuesday the U.S. will pull out of the accord with Iran that had been billed as a means of controlling that nation's nuclear ambitions while allowing Iran to explore nuclear power. U.S. allies in Europe had lobbied him to stay in the pact as a means of setting a period of security.

At the heart of the deal, Iran had agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program designed to make it impossible to produce a bomb, along with rigorous inspections.

Trump allies, along with Israel, had accused Iran of breaking the agreement and pursuing a military nuclear path. 

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said the views of others in the world who backed continuing with the document were incorrect in their assumptions.

“There are some who blindly supported this deal, regardless of the risks it posed to our own national security," he said. "They sincerely believed that by providing Iran with sanctions relief, the Iranians would change course and become a better member of the family of nations.

"Those assumptions have proven to be a disastrous mistake." he said.

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Trump also pledged more economic sanctions on Iran.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens, said he knew some U.S. allies are opposed to Trump's move but that blame for a bad deal should go toward Barack Obama's administration.

“Nearly every aspect of President Obama’s Iran Deal was deeply flawed," he said. "At the end of the day, President Obama trusted the word of a rogue nation over the wishes of the American people."

He charged the agreement "was so poorly conceived and negotiated that the Obama administration’s motives for entering into such an deal deserve questioning."

South Carolina Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn said any fallout from the U.S. move should go on the current White House occupant.

"Trump's withdrawal from the Iran Deal erodes U.S. credibility," Clyburn tweeted. "If Iran is honoring its commitments, we need to keep our word. Today's action risks conflict with Iran, imperils negotiations w countries like N. Korea and does great damage to America’s leadership role in the world."

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 843-937-5551. Follow him on Twitter at @skropf47.

Political Editor

Schuyler Kropf is The Post and Courier political editor. He has covered every major political race in South Carolina dating to 1988, including for U.S. Senate, governorship, the Statehouse and Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.