US Lawmakers, European Nations Scramble to Save Iran Deal From Trump

Image President Trump Boards Air Force One

Several congressional Democrats who split with President Barack Obama to oppose the nuclear agreement with Iran are now urging President Donald Trump to uphold the worldwide accord, arguing that robust enforcement is the best way to counter Tehran's malign behavior in the Middle East.

The world needs to look at Iran's actions beyond the terms of just nuclear compliance, a source with knowledge of the plan told CNN on Wednesday.

After Trump made clear three months ago he would not certify Iran's compliance, his advisers moved to give him options to consider, a senior administration official said.

It might also help keep the Europeans on board with administration efforts to fight Iran's other destabilizing activities.

"The nuclear deal wasn't meant to fix Iran's regional meddling, irritating as that may be".

Some top figures in Congress are already deeply skeptical of the Trump effort to kill the deal, with Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) saying the USA should "enforce the hell out of it" instead.

Releasing a written statement, Johnson said nuclear treaty with Iran eliminated nuclear threat posed by this country. Many congressional sources and others familiar with the process say the Trump administration is considering using decertification to increase pressure on Tehran, not to end the deal.

"I expect President Trump will not certify it", said Elizabeth Rosenberg, an Iran expert at the Center for a New American Security, a progressive think tank. With many nations seemingly committed to at least trying to keep the deal going with or without U.S. involvement, they see pulling out as simply losing their seat at the table for enforcement of the pact. "Let's work with allies to make certain that worldwide inspectors have better access to possible nuclear sites, and we should address the fundamental sunset shortcoming, as our allies have recognized".

Royce, like every other Republican in the U.S. Congress, opposed the nuclear agreement reached under President Barack Obama, a Democrat, in 2015 and signed by the United States, Iran, China, Russia, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union.

Notably, the committee's top Republican, Rep. Ed Royce, said the US should adhere to the deal. "Just take a look at the behavior of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, whose antics on the world stage only get attention because he has nukes", argued Bergen.

Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, was one of four Senate Democrats who opposed the Iran nuclear agreement in 2015.

The reversal underscores deep concerns among lawmakers that Trump will inform Congress in the coming days that the landmark 2015 agreement with Iran is contrary to America's national security interests.

"The risks are too great to allow Trump to open up a nuclear Pandora's box in the Middle East", he added.

Trump threatened during the presidential campaign to tear the pact up if he was elected.

Former Obama administration officials who played central roles in brokering the Iran nuclear agreement briefed congressional Democrats later Wednesday on the merits of the worldwide accord.

Speaking at the White House Wednesday, Trump did not discuss specific timing but told reporters: "You're going to see very soon. We're going to be announcing that very shortly".

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