Sanders to Host Town Hall Monday on Iran Nuclear Deal and America’s Role in the World

breaking the deal

WASHINGTON, May 9 – Following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear agreement, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced that he will host a town hall Monday night in the Capitol to examine the consequences of Trump’s decision.

Sanders will be joined by regional, security and nonproliferation experts to discuss how Trump’s decision will impact U.S. foreign policy in the short term and the long term.

They will discuss how after nearly two decades of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal moves the U.S. closer to yet another conflict in the Middle East. And at a time when the United States spends more on defense than the next 10 countries combined, Sanders and his panel will consider alternatives to the hawkish Washington foreign policy establishment that remains committed to never-ending military interventions.

“President Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal was the latest in a series of reckless decisions that move our country closer to conflict. After 17 years in Afghanistan and 15 years in Iraq, the American people do not want to be engaged in never-ending wars in the Middle East. I am deeply concerned that that is exactly where President Trump is heading with Iran,” Sanders said. “Real American leadership, and real American power, is not shown by our ability to blow things up, but by our ability to bring parties together, to forge international consensus around shared problems. I look forward to having this important conversation Monday night about the future of America’s role in the world.”

The event, titled "Breaking the Deal: The Aftermath of Trump’s Iran Decision,” follows previous town halls on inequality and Medicare for all that were watched online by millions of people around the country. Sanders will partner with The Intercept, The Guardian, NowThis, The Young Turks,, MoveOn and other leading outlets for Monday’s event.

The town hall will be held in front of a live audience at the Capitol Visitor Center's Congressional Auditorium in Washington from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Monday night and live streamed across the partners’ social media channels.

Members of the public interested in attending in person can find more information here

Press interested in attending must RSVP here.


Joe Cirincione, President, Ploughshares Fund

In addition to his role as president of the Ploughshares Fund, Cirincione is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and was a member of Secretary of State John Kerry's International Security Advisory Board. Cirincione worked for nine years in the US House of Representatives on the professional staff of the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Government Operations. He previously served as Vice President for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress and Director for Nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Suzanne DiMaggio, Senior Fellow, New America

DiMaggio is a director and senior fellow at New America, where she focuses on U.S. foreign policy, the Middle East, and Asia. She has been leading Track 1.5 and Track 2 diplomatic initiatives on regional security, terrorism, nonproliferation, and governance for nearly 20 years. She has a special interest in the role of policy dialogue with countries that the United States has limited or no official relations, especially Iran and North Korea. DiMaggio directs the U.S.-Iran Initiative, which is carried out through a combination of policy dialogue, research, and a series of public events and private roundtables, with the aim of generating analyses and recommendations in support of improving relations between the two countries. The project’s centerpiece is a long-running dialogue that she established in 2002, which brings together influential and knowledgeable Americans and Iranians to explore possible grounds for constructive engagement and develop mutually acceptable strategies for addressing a range of issues, including Iran’s nuclear program, regional security, and U.S.-Iran relations. 

Rob Malley, President and CEO, International Crisis Group

Robert Malley is president and CEO of the International Crisis Group. He was the White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and Gulf Region under President Obama, a senior adviser to the president for the counter-ISIS campaign and the White House lead negotiator for the Iran deal. Malley was most recently a senior director at the National Security Council. Prior to holding this title, he was Program Director for Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group and Assistant to National Security Advisor Sandy Berger and the Director for Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs at the National Security Council. He is considered an expert on Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, and as a Special Assistant to President Clinton was a member of the U.S. peace team that helped organize the 2000 Camp David Summit.

Lara Friedman, President, Foundation for Middle East Peace

Prior to coming to FMEP, Lara was the Director of Policy and Government Relations at Americans for Peace Now, and before that she was a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, serving in Jerusalem, Washington, Tunis and Beirut. Lara is a leading authority on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with particular focus on the Israeli-Arab conflict, settlements and Jerusalem, and on the role of the U.S. Congress. She frequently briefs Members of Congress, Administration officials, and others in the foreign policy/national security community, and is regularly published in the U.S. and Israeli press.