Last week, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he had spoken with Trump and that the president had indicated that if nothing changes, he’s “definitely” leaving the agreement.
French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters late last month, after meeting with Trump, that he believes the president “will get rid of this deal on his own, for domestic reasons.”
Other Republicans say they are hoping that Trump modifies the agreement so that it addresses certain holes, such as Iran’s ballistic missile program.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who railed against the agreement in 2015, now supports improving the deal and having it sent to the Senate for ratification as a treaty, his spokesman Conn Carroll, told NBC News on Monday. Obama chose not to allow the Senate to vote on the deal.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who blasted the deal, said in a recent interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he now agrees with Macron on the best way to approach the deal: Alter it, don’t ditch it.
Meanwhile, other Hill Republicans continue to back a U.S. withdrawal.
“I’ve said it from the beginning — Obama’s Iran deal is a flawed agreement and I had the opportunity to discuss its flaws in depth with Prime Minster Netanyahu last October,” said Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., in a statement provided to NBC News on Monday, referring to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister.
“We need concrete changes that would include anytime, anywhere inspections of non-declared sites, dismantling the development of advanced centrifuges, remove all sunset provisions, address Iran’s ballistic missile program and halt actions that create regional instability,” Inhofe said. “Without these meaningful, necessary changes, I fully support the president withdrawing from the Iran deal.”
Lawmakers aren’t alone in pressing the president as the deadline ticks closer: Israel has long pushed the Trump administration to kill the deal, while key Obama administration officials, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, and European leaders are still making moves in an attempt to salvage it.
To try and protect the deal, Kerry met recently with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, according to a report in The Boston Globe.
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports that British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, was also planning to sit down with Vice President Mike Pence and White House national security adviser John Bolton, who has criticized the agreement.
Johnson, who wrote an op-ed in The New York Times on Monday titled “Don’t Scuttle the Iran Nuclear Deal,” said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday that there are ways to improve the deal “without throwing away the heart” of the agreement.
“It is the best thing that we have at the moment,” Johnson said. “It has stopped the Iranians getting a nuclear weapon, and we’ve got to ask ourselves: How else would we do that?”