WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the landmark nuclear accord with Iran on Tuesday, abruptly restoring harsh sanctions in the most consequential foreign policy action of his presidency.
The 2015 agreement, which was negotiated by the Obama administration and included Germany, France and Britain, had lifted most U.S. and international economic sanctions against Iran. In exchange, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program, making it impossible to produce a bomb and establishing rigorous inspections.
U.S. allies in Europe lamented the move to abandon the deal. Iran's leader ominously warned his country might "start enriching uranium more than before."
The sanctions seek to punish Iran for its nuclear program by limiting its ability to sell oil or do business overseas, affecting a wide range of Iranian economic sectors and individuals.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that licenses held by Boeing and its European competitor Airbus to sell billions of dollars in commercial jetliners to Iran will be revoked.
He said the sanctions will sharply curtail sales of oil by Iran, which is currently the world's fifth largest oil producer. Mnuchin said he didn't expect oil prices to rise sharply, forecasting that other producers will step up production.
Iran's government must now decide whether to follow the U.S. and withdraw or try to salvage what's left with the Europeans. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he was sending his foreign minister to the remaining countries but warned there was only a short time to negotiate with them.
Laying out his case, Trump contended, "If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world's leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world's most dangerous weapons."
Former President Barack Obama, whose administration negotiated the deal, called Trump's action "misguided" and said, "The consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to risks eroding America's credibility and puts us at odds with the world's major powers."
There was a predictably mixed reaction from Congress. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said the Iran deal "was flawed from the beginning," and he looked forward to working with Trump on next steps. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, slammed Trump in a statement, saying this "rash decision isolates America, not Iran."
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, called it “a mistake.”
“The last thing America and the world need right now is a new nuclear threat,” Durbin said. “Breaking this deal increases the danger that Iran will restart its nuclear weapons program, which threatens our ally, Israel, and destabilizes the entire Middle East. It isolates the United States from the world at a time when we need our allies to come together to address nuclear threats elsewhere, particularly in Korea. This is a mistake of historic proportions.”
The state’s junior Senator, Tammy Duckworth, also a Democrat, echoed that sentiment.
“While the Iran nuclear agreement was far from perfect, it has been successful in pushing back Iran’s timeline for nuclear weapons development, which was a key goal of the agreement,” she said. “Donald Trump’s reckless announcement today not only threatens to destroy years of important non-proliferation efforts, it also isolates us from our allies and undermines our country’s ability to use diplomacy to negotiate future agreements, leaving us with less leverage on the world stage. That’s alarming, especially at this critical time as we attempt to reach a diplomatic solution to the North Korean crisis. Our nation’s top defense and military officials agree that Iran is in compliance with the agreement and recommended we remain in this deal. It’s unfortunate that on this critical matter of national security, the President has decided to cast aside their advice.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Illinois, of Murphysboro, said the deal “simply allows the regime to wait out the temporary restrictions before restarting their weapons program.”
“The nuclear agreement with Iran was fundamentally flawed from the beginning,” Bost said in an emailed statement. “It trades temporary restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program for permanent sanctions relief in the hope that the biggest financiers of terror in the world would somehow change their ways. The recent revelation of Iran’s secret nuclear weapons archive clearly proves that the regime had a comprehensive program to design, test and build a nuclear weapon.”
Yet nations like Israel and Saudi Arabia that loathed the deal saw the action as a sign the United States is returning to a more skeptical, less trusting approach to dealing with adversaries.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Trump's announcement as a "historic move."
Trump, who repeatedly criticized the accord during his presidential campaign, said Tuesday that documents recently released by Netanyahu showed Iran had attempted to develop a nuclear bomb in the previous decade, especially before 2003. Although Trump gave no explicit evidence that Iran violated the deal, he said Iran had clearly lied in the past and could not be trusted.
Iran has denied ever pursuing nuclear arms.
CARBONDALE — The discussion of lifting restrictions on mobile vendors in Carbondale had the City Council split Tuesday night.
Although there was no official vote, some council members felt the current ordinance on the books concerning mobile vendors — food trucks and push-cart vendors — was just fine the way it is. Two other council members felt it was time to open up the restrictions and let more vendors conduct businesses on public property.
Currently, food trucks can operate on private property with owner’s permission. Additionally, trucks can open on public property on town square, Turley and Attucks Parks and the Superblock Sports Multi-Complex.
Carbondale City Manager Gary Williams said those locations were where there would likely be aggregations of people.
Councilman Adam Loos said Tuesday he was in favor of opening up regulations. He commented on language in a prepared city document about this item, saying it's a struggle in finding balance between allowing sufficiently flexible regulations for both types of businesses to thrive and protecting existing businesses.
“Let’s get out of that business,” he said. “That is not the role of the city council.”
He said he’s in favor of letting people get into business as cheaply as they can, and one way could be with a food truck or push cart. Additionally, he said when the council tries to do things for people who have fewer advantages, it often gets pushback from those same businesses it is trying to protect.
Loos said another option would be to not allow vendors to set up shop on the sidewalk in front of a restaurant. However, he said, if that business wants to set up in the street, in a parking spot, that would be fine.
“If people are losing business, they need to improve their product or get out of business.”
Councilman Jeff Doherty said he’s not in favor of any changes to the ordinance.
“I think our brick and mortar restaurants have been suffering from increased sales tax from the food and beverage tax and increased tax rates in Carbondale and Jackson County,” he said.
Doherty added that there are fewer students enrolled at SIU, resulting in fewer customers, so he wouldn’t support subsidizing businesses to operate on public property.
Councilwoman Jessica Bradshaw was in favor of loosening things up a bit, adding the foot traffic mostly isn’t going to cause a major jam of people walking.
“I don’t think we will have tons of people lining up on the sidewalks blocking traffic,” she said.
“We don’t have that much pedestrian traffic unfortunately," she added. “I think we are overthinking things here.”
Mayor Mike Henry said there businesses owners have enough things to deal with in the current economic climate, so he’s not in favor of any changes.
“We have brick and mortar people who are collecting sales tax but they are also paying real estate taxes and employing people, and I don’t think they need anything else put on their plate to deal with right now,” he said.
Food truck and push cart operators are taking their businesses to the surrounding cities. Michelle Fraley-Jines, owner of Haute Wheels Food Truck, said loosening of restrictions would “100 percent” cause her business to spend more time in Carbondale.
“Anything that would get us closer to the campus,” she said. “So we can reach an audience that already knows about food trucks.”
She said he didn’t have a bad experience in Carbondale, but she needs better positioning in order to make it profitable. She said being able to service the daytime lunch crowd or the bar crowd on The Strip would make significant improvements.
Additionally, she said the business decided it wouldn’t continue lunch services on private property because it wasn’t getting enough business.
Popular push-cart vendor Brad Preiss, taking over Winston’s Bagels as Winston’s Bagels by B-Rad, said he would consider doing business in Carbondale if the restrictions were looser. However, he said the regulations opened up more possibilities as he takes the cart all around Southern Illinois to Murphysboro, Carterville, Marion, and Herrin.
“Carbondale is not the center of the world,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be the center of the world.”
He said the other cities have been very receptive to him operating there and he doesn’t see much point to come back to Carbondale because he doesn’t want to be student-dependent.
CARMI — Carmi-White County High School science teacher Adam Cross has built a reputation around his ability to connect with students — even the ones he doesn't teach.
“Even though I don’t have them in class, I love showing up every day to see them and building that relationship with them that will probably last a lot longer than they’re in this building,” Cross said.
Cross, 23, graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in May 2017 and is a recent recipient of one of the 2018 Outstanding Beginning Teacher Awards, presented by the Illinois Association of Colleges for Teacher Education last month in Springfield.
Every year, universities and colleges across the state each nominate one recent graduate of a teacher education program who exemplifies the qualities of an outstanding teacher.
Nancy Mundschenk, director of teacher education and licensure officer at SIUC, said in an email that Cross was chosen for the honor because of his commitment to building relationships with students.
“He demonstrates the important blend of the science and art of teaching,” Mundschenk wrote. “In fact, he teaches science and uses evidence-based practices and creative strategies to teach and engage his students for deep learning. But he also knows that connecting with his student, touching their lives, is also critical. His commitment is evident in the classroom and through his support of extra-curricular activities.”
Cross spoke with The Southern during an afternoon prep period on Tuesday, which was National Teacher Appreciation Day.
Cross teaches biology, horticulture and agricultural science. He has about 120 students across different learning levels.
“… If you don’t have relationships with your students, then you don’t have them at all, and that is the one thing that I pride myself on, is being able to have that connection and relate to them,” he said.
Cross likes to support students by attending sports games and school plays.
“They notice that. I went to a few baseball games this year, and then the kids would ask me the next day, ‘Hey, are you going to the next one?’ When you show up, every head turns out of the dugout, and they say, ‘Look who’s here! It’s Mr. Cross.’ And they all get excited, which of course makes you happy, because if they’re excited to see you, you must be doing something right,” Cross said.
Cross said he is currently starting his master’s degree for administration. He hopes to eventually become an administrator.
“I know some people are getting drove out (of education) because the salary’s not high enough, and morale’s not where it used to be and you have to teach longer than what you used to to retire. I tell people who don’t want to go through that process of even becoming a teacher, it’s not easy, but it’s well worth it in the end. You’ll notice that the first day you step into your own classroom, that you made the right decision. And I know I certainly did,” Cross said.
SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Republican leaders of the Legislature said Tuesday that Democrats are moving too slowly on budget negotiations ahead of the General Assembly's May 31 scheduled adjournment.
Rauner met for about an hour with the four legislative leaders before telling reporters outside his state Capitol office that Democrats are balking at agreement on an estimate of state revenue for the budget year that begins July 1.
A solid revenue number on paper is required by law. Rauner says it's a spigot to control runaway Democratic spending.
"There's a reluctance to being pinned down," Rauner said. "Being pinned down and agreeing to a revenue number is key to having a balanced budget."
Democrats who control the General Assembly claim it's a "gotcha" tactic but say more work needs to be done in part because of an expected shortfall.
Budget analysts for both sides have come up with numbers that differ by less than $100 million, or about 3 percent of the total.
Emerging earlier from the same meeting, Senate President John Cullerton said there's "a general understanding about how much money we have coming in" while he obliquely mentioned a "gap that needs to be closed" without specifics.
The Chicago Democrat downplayed Republicans' call for a revenue estimate.
"I wouldn't be hung up on that," Cullerton said. "That gets into somewhat of a 'gotcha' game and a political fight. That's not what's holding us up."
The Legislature's bipartisan financial analyst, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability , estimated in February that state revenue — more than half from income taxes, but also sales taxes, transfers from other state sources and federal grants — would be $37.964 billion in the 2019 fiscal year.
The Governor's Office of Management and Budget's estimate was $37.865 billion, $99 million less.
Most of that money is already spoken for, because of obligated state spending for Medicaid, pensions, and other programs.
Rep. Fred Crespo, a House budget negotiator and Democrat from Hoffman Estates, contends that since Rauner took office in 2015, Democrats have been amenable to a revenue number, but Republicans are unresponsive when invited to help determine how much in that "above-the-line" spending was necessary.
"Let's not make this a political item, which some of us think that's what they're trying to do," Crespo said.
This story has been updated from a previous version.