Report: Trump will scrap Iran nuke deal
NBC News is reporting that Donald Trump is leaning strongly in favor of scrapping the Iranian nuclear deal negotiated by President Obama.
NBC claims that four different sources, including a high-ranking administration official, told its people that the decision to pull out of the agreement is close. Trump ordered a review of the agreement by his national security team, and it is believed that the review recommended that the U.S. pull out.
Such a move would come before an Oct. 15 deadline and would trigger a 60-day window for lawmakers to determine whether to reimpose sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program that were lifted as part of the 2015 agreement. The president's goal during that time is to prod America's European allies, who are part of the nuclear deal, to agree to renegotiate some provisions and pressure Iran back into talks.
Still, several of the sources cautioned that the president could change his mind over the next three weeks as he faces pushback from allies internationally.
Trump told reporters Wednesday that he has "decided" on a plan of action, but he declined to provide specifics. Asked for comment, a White House spokesperson said the president will announce further details when he's ready.
The senior administration official said that the president has resolved not to continue the "status quo" but that he's considering at least one other option related to the deal.
That option, according to two officials, would give European allies 90 days to get on board with renegotiation – rather than punt the decision to Congress. Administration officials are still in talks with those allies and with Republicans on Capitol Hill.
The White House has not responded to a request for comment.
Trump so far has twice recertified the Iran deal, despite having vowed to end it on the campaign trail. But this week, he ratcheted up his rhetoric, calling the agreement an "embarrassment" to the United States in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
The president is already facing international pressure not to withdraw. A British government official said Prime Minister Theresa May will raise her strong objections to pulling out of the joint agreement when she meets with Trump on the sidelines of the U.N. meeting. The official said that while Britain, France and Germany, known as the E3, acknowledge that the deal is not perfect, they believe it does reduce Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology and aggressive actions in the region.
Our European allies will balk at renegotiations for the same reason they agreed to such a one-sided deal in the first place: they want to avoid having to do anything to stop Iran's drive for a nuclear weapon. For them, and for President Obama, military action against Iran was off the table, as was maintaining the status quo on sanctions.
The Iranian nuclear agreement was a fig leaf. It was never designed to halt Iran's weapons program. It was supposed to give cover to Western leaders who knew they could kick the can down the road so they would be long gone from office by the time the Iranians went nuclear.
Iran is likely just a few months from having the capability to test a bomb. There's even a chance the Iranians already have all the components necessary for a bomb that needs only to be assembled. We don't know because "the strictest inspection regime ever" has kept a large part of its bomb program secret.
Trump has rightly decided that rogue regimes like Iran and North Korea cannot be allowed by the world community to possess nuclear weapons. Whether the rest of the world has the guts to see that commonsense policy through is an open question.