Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said Sunday that he believes President Donald Trump is likely to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal in May, a step that would undo one of the major foreign policy achievements claimed by former President Barack Obama.
Corker (R-Tenn.) told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that such a move by Trump could be avoided if the president’s concerns, which deal largely with Iran’s actions outside the specifics of the nuclear deal, are addressed as part of a multilateral framework. Such an agreement seems unlikely, Corker said.
“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. I think the president likely will move away from it, unless my — our European counterparts really come together on a framework. And it doesn't feel to me that they are,” Corker said, cautioning that circumstances could change as the May 12 deadline for a decision on the Iran deal approaches.
“You think the president's going to pull out of that Iran deal on May 12th?” CBS anchor Margaret Brennan followed up, to which Corker replied, “I do. I do.”
Trump — who last week fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, his top diplomat — has long railed against the Iran nuclear deal, dating back to the 2016 presidential campaign, when he made pledges to withdraw the U.S. from it a major part of his foreign policy platform. The president has remained publicly skeptical of the deal since taking office but thus far stopped short of making good on his promise to remove pull out of it.
Accusing Iran of bad behavior that includes funding groups labeled by the U.S. as terrorist organizations, Trump announced last October that he would decertify Iran’s compliance with the deal, asking Congress to pass legislation that could trigger penalties for the Islamic republic.
More recently, Trump extended the nuclear deal last January, waiving economic sanctions on Iran but declaring that he would not do so again when the next deadline hits in May unless Congress and U.S. allies in Europe dramatically strengthen the nuclear agreement.
"This is a last chance," Trump said in January. "Either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw."