Corker: Trump ‘perfectly fine’ with scrapping Iran deal absent a fix

- April 18, 2018

President Donald Trump is "perfectly fine walking away from" the Iran nuclear deal next month if an agreement isn't reached with European partners to address his concerns, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said Wednesday.

Corker has played a key role in months-long talks aimed at preventing the collapse of a nuclear deal he initially opposed, and he has long urged the Trump administration to take the lead in engaging European allies in hopes of meeting the president's demands for stricter terms.

Those talks have made headway in recent days, Corker said, and he has "some degree of hope" for progress during scheduled state visits by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron before Trump's May 12 deadline to waive sanctions under the deal.

But provided that "nothing changes between now and May 12," Corker told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor-sponsored breakfast, "the president is absolutely going to withdraw from the agreement."

Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Russia and China joined the United States as parties to the Iran nuclear pact, which Democrats and some Republicans have urged Trump not to torpedo.


European allies are "more than happy" to address the administration's concerns about two major issues in the talks — Tehran's ballistic missile program and inspections under the existing nuclear deal — Corker said. But he described still-stalled talks over changing the pact's sunset provisions, which Trump aides want to strengthen to prevent Iran from potentially restarting its nuclear program.

"Germany feels like dealing with the sunset is changing the deal," Corker said, adding that he disagrees with that assessment.

Corker and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) had begun legislative discussions on an Iran deal fix last year with Trump's former national security adviser, H.R. McMaster. But that legislative effort has paused of late, Corker said, while the administration spearheads talks with European partners.


 

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