Trump prepared to ‘potentially’ exit Iran deal
If Congress and America’s European allies are unable to amend the Iran nuclear deal, US President Donald Trump is prepared to “potentially” walk away from it, the White House said on Monday.
The Times of Israel reports in its article White House: If it’s not changed, Trump prepared to ‘potentially’ exit Iran deal that the language was softer than Trump’s own speech in January, when he waived sanctions against Tehran, as required under the accord, but stated explicitly that if an agreement to fix what he deems the pact’s flaws was not reached, he would “withdraw from the deal immediately.”
Asked whether he could confirm reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told French and German diplomats on Monday that Trump will leave the deal if three parts of the deal are not modified, Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters, “If changes aren’t made, the president is prepared to potentially withdraw from the agreement.” Shah said he could not confirm or deny reports of what the Israeli premier might have said in a meeting.
Earlier Monday, Axios reported that Netanyahu told those two countries’ foreign ministers, who had been visiting Jerusalem, that he predicts with “very high probability” that the American president is, in fact, going to follow through on his threat to exit the accord on May 12, the next deadline to waive sanctions under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
According to Axios, Netanyahu said that three critical parts of the deal needed to be altered for the US to stay in it: adding a ban on Iran testing ballistic missiles, increasing inspection access to Iran’s military facilities, and removing the sunset clauses that allow certain restrains on Iran’s nuclear program to expire in nine years.
Trump has recently ousted members of his national security team who have urged him to stay and keep the deal, such as former secretary of state Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, and replaced them with more hawkish figures like CIA Director Mike Pompeo and former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, who, in 2015, called forpreemptively bombing Iran.
Much of Washington’s foreign policy community now believes that Trump will abrogate the accord. Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, a Republican who is chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CBS last week that he expects Trump to walk away.
“The Iran deal will be another issue that’s coming up in May, and right now it doesn’t feel like it’s going to be extended,” he said. “I think the president likely will move away from it, unless our European counterparts really come together on a framework. And it doesn’t feel to me that they are. Now, as we get within two weeks of the May 12 date, that could change.”
But when asked by Margaret Brennan, who hosts the network’s flagship Sunday morning program, Face the Nation, if he thinks Trump will leave the deal, Corker told her: “I do, I do.”