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Tim Hynds, Sioux City Journal 

Sharky's Pizzeria & Grill's Jim Symons Sr. and Jim Symons Jr. hold up a pepperoni and pork sausage pizza at the restaurant located at 103 E. Eighth St. in South Sioux City. Opening its doors in April 2018, the Symons family had previously owned another South Sioux City restaurant named Sharky's in the early 2000's.

Trump: US leaving Iran nuclear deal

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. He declared he was making the world safer, but he also deepened his isolation on the world stage and revived doubts about American credibility.

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.

But Trump, a severe critic of the deal dating back to his presidential campaign, said in a televised address from the White House that it was "defective at its core."

U.S. allies in Europe had tried to keep him in and lamented his move to abandon it. 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.

Major companies in the U.S. and Europe could be hurt, too. 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. Certain exemptions are to be negotiated, but Mnuchin refused to discuss what products might qualify.

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."

The administration said it would re-impose sanctions on Iran immediately but allow grace periods for businesses to wind down activity. Companies and banks doing business with Iran will have to scramble to extricate themselves or run afoul of the U.S. government.

Meanwhile, for nations contemplating striking their own sensitive deals with Trump, such as North Korea, the withdrawal will increase suspicions that they cannot expect lasting U.S. fidelity to international agreements it signs.

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."

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.

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."

In a burst of last-minute diplomacy, punctuated by a visit by Britain's top diplomat, the deal's European members had given ground on many of Trump's demands for reworking the accord, according to officials, diplomats and others briefed on the negotiations. Yet the Europeans realized he was unpersuaded.

Trump spoke with French President Macron and Chinese leader Xi Jinping about his decision Tuesday. Hours before the announcement, European countries met in Brussels with Iran's deputy foreign minister for political affairs, Abbas Araghchi.

In Iran, many are deeply concerned about how Trump's decision could affect the already struggling economy. In Tehran, Rouhani sought to calm nerves, smiling as he appeared at a petroleum expo. He didn't name Trump directly, but emphasized that Iran continued to seek "engagement with the world."

The first 15 months of Trump's presidency have been filled with many "last chances" for the Iran deal in which he's punted the decision for another few months, and then another. As he left his announcement Tuesday, he predicted that Iranians would someday "want to make a new and lasting deal" and that "when they do, I am ready, willing and able."

top story
Offering a helping hand
GALLAGHER: Dordt College grad 'Honors' veterans with trip to nation's capital

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa -- Aaron Van Beek and I exchanged texts last fall. I assumed he was in his 30s, 40s, 50s or 60s.

The texts concerned the Midwest Honor Flight, an Aug. 22 trek in which 85 veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War were flown from Sioux Falls to Washington, D.C., for a day of visiting memorials, pausing to reflect and sharing in fellowship. Van Beek put me in touch with Jim McDonald, 89, of North Sioux City, South Dakota, a World War II veteran who stood guard for the 8th Army's Military Police during war crimes trials for Japanese leaders, including Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, in Tokyo.

Van Beek and I later traded texts about The Journal's joint effort with the Betty Strong Encounter Center in featuring 21 women who served our country in all branches of the military. Van Beek sought to get one or more of these veterans on a May 15 Honor Flight.

I met Van Beek face-to-face for the first time on Monday. I was alarmed to learn he's 22 and graduating on Friday from Dordt College, four days prior to the second Honor Flight he's worked to fund and organize, no small task as each flight costs around $115,000. The second mission is fully funded; work has begun on the third flight, slated for Sept. 25.

"We'll take 82 veterans next week," Van Beek said, noting the flight will have six World War II veterans, eight Vietnam War veterans and 58 veterans of the Korean War.

What prompted a Dordt College student, a civilian majoring in education, to immerse himself in a leadership position for the Midwest Honor Flight?

"I'd heard much about the Honor Flight program," he said. "Three out of four of my great-grandfathers were in the Army during World War II and none of them got a chance to see the World War II Memorial in Washington.

"Veterans of the Korean War fought in the 'Forgotten War,' and veterans of the Vietnam War didn't get a welcome home at all," he continued.

Van Beek, an Eagle Scout at age 16, was in the Boy Scouts a few years ago when he learned of six Sioux County veterans who went on an Honor Flight out of Fort Dodge, Iowa. It bugged him that a local effort had waned since 2012. He sought to do something about it.

Not only that, Van Beek also helped establish a Wreaths Across America effort in his hometown of Sioux Center, as well as nearby Carmel, Iowa. In that program, the graves of veterans are decorated with a wreath prior to Christmas. The national program seeks to remember the fallen while honoring the brave and teaching our young people.

"In the last three years, each tomb of a veteran in Sioux Center and Carmel have been decorated with a wreath in December," he said, disclosing how this operation costs $7,0000 annually. "For some families, the wreath program is very emotional."

TGallagher / Provided 

Aaron Van Beek, of Sioux Center, Iowa, works to check seat assignments for the Midwest Honor Flight on Aug. 22. The flight carried 82 military veterans from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Washington, D.C.

Van Beek's involvement had me asking more about his civic engagement than graduation, which takes place at 10 a.m. Friday on the stage serving B.J. Haan Auditorium at Dordt College. Funny thing, that's the stage on which Van Beek stood when his enrollment at Dordt became a real possibility.

"In January of my senior year at Sioux Center High School, I was singing in a Northwest Iowa Honors Concert at B.J. Haan Auditorium when it occurred to me that I should attend Dordt," he said. "As a freshman in high school, I had no intention of attending college here."

Van Beek has thoroughly enjoyed his time at Dordt, where he served as manager for men's basketball and baseball teams. He led campus tours for prospective students, worked as a math professor's teaching assistant and participated with Future Active Christian Teachers. His classroom education concluded Friday as he finished a semester of student teaching, a period split between Franklin Elementary School in Le Mars, Iowa, and Hull Christian School in Hull, Iowa.

The son of Greg and Chris Van Beek of Sioux Center interviewed for one job this spring and landed it. He'll begin in August as a third grade teacher at Kinsey Elementary in his hometown.


Aaron Van Beek, 22, of Sioux Center, Iowa, graduates on Friday with an education degree from Dordt College. Van Beek has been hired to teach third grade in Sioux Center come August.

Aaron Van Beek's career view seems to align with his community involvement. That's good for Dordt, good for Sioux Center and good for our region.

"Teaching is a way I can give back, much like the way I'm trying to do through Honor Flights and Wreaths Across America," he said. "And in teaching, I'm catching our future leaders and maybe making an impact, whether they stay here or go on from Northwest Iowa one day."

Justin Wan, Sioux City Journal 


breaking top story
S.D. allows Dakota Dunes boy to join competitive girls dance team

NORTH SIOUX CITY -- Freddie Linden and other high school boys in South Dakota can join girls on competitive dance teams.

Linden, who will be a sophomore at Dakota Valley High School in the fall, had sued the South Dakota High School Activities Association, seeking to overturn a rule that forbid mixed gender teams in state-sanctioned tournaments.

In a 7-0 vote on Tuesday, the SDHSAA voted to allow both boys and girls to participate in the sport of competitive dance during the 2018-19 season.

SDHSAA Executive Director Dan Swartos said the change is a "fair compromise, in that it allows participation for next school year, while also directing action through the established process for rule changes that already exists."

Freddie's mother, Stephanie Linden on Tuesday said she was pleased with the state change, saying the timing of the decision was fortunate, with Dakota Valley dance team tryouts happening this week.

"We are very excited that Freddie will be able to dance for Dakota Valley this upcoming year. We applaud the SDHSAA for doing the right thing in suspending their rule that bans boys from dancing on school teams," Stephanie Linden said.

The approved measure read, “to suspend the restriction of requirement that only females may compete in competitive dance for the 2018-19 school year, allow boys and girls to participate alongside one another in competitive dance, and direct the Dance Advisory Committee to study the issue during the intervening year and recommend language specific to the issue that must ultimately be considered and approved by the membership and Board of Directors.”

Stephanie Linden previously said the family filed the lawsuit against SDHSAA in April after they were left with no other choice.

"Dakota Valley is in support of Freddie dancing on the team. Their hands are tied, as they must follow the law," Stephanie Linden previously told the Journal.

The legal action was taken through the Pacific Legal Foundation. The firm has a history of taking on personal liberty cases, to support "peoples’ right to freely associate and express themselves," according to its website.

From here, the South Dakota agency will work through the competitive dance advisory committee, the association member school athletic directors, and, ultimately, the SDHSAA Board of Directors, Swartos said.