Rubio expresses 'serious doubts' on Iran deal's future in the Senate

Rubio expresses 'serious doubts' on Iran deal's future in the Senate
© Keren Carrion

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioLawmakers press Biden admin to send more military aid to Ukraine I'm furious about Democrats taking the blame — it's time to fight back The Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement MORE (R-Fla.) expressed “serious doubts” about the Senate's plans for the Iran nuclear deal after President Trump announced Friday he would be decertifying it and seeking changes from Congress.

“I know the White House has been working hard to craft a new law to fix the Iran deal, and I appreciate them and Chairman [Bob] Corker [R-Tenn.] seeking my input,” Rubio, a member of Corker's Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement Friday. “I will reserve judgment until actual legislation is presented. But I have serious doubts about whether it is even possible to fix such a dangerously flawed agreement.”

On Friday, Trump declared the 2015 nuclear deal among Iran, the United States and five other world powers is no longer in U.S. national security interest.

In refusing to certify Iran’s compliance, Trump did not push Congress to reimpose nuclear sanctions. But he did ask that they amend the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) to address his issues with it.

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To that end, Corker and Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonSenate's antitrust bill would raise consumer prices and lower our competitiveness Sinema scuttles hopes for filibuster reform Republicans threaten floor takeover if Democrats weaken filibuster  MORE (R-Ark.) announced Friday that they will introduce legislation to amend INARA. Their bill would effectively end the so-called sunset provisions of the accord and automatically snap back nuclear sanctions if Iran gets within one year of obtaining a nuclear weapon.

In announcing the plan, Corker thanked Rubio for his help.

But Rubio said withdrawing from the deal may be the only course of action he’ll support.

“Ultimately, leaving the nuclear deal, re-imposing suspended sanctions and having the president impose additional sanctions would serve our national interest better than a decertified deal that leaves sanctions suspended or a new law that leaves major flaws in that agreement in place,” he said in his statement.

In general, though, he said he supports Trump’s decertification.

“President Trump made the right decision to decertify the Obama administration's Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran (JCPOA),” Rubio said. “He is correct in finding that this deal is not in our national interest.”

Rubio’s trepidation of the INARA changes highlights the difficulty Congress will have in passing changes to the deal, which would need 60 votes to pass in the Senate.

Democrats have said the changes being proposed amount to a unilateral rewriting of an international agreement, making their support unlikely.

Global allies have also signaled an unwillingness to renegotiate an already signed accord.

Trump has threatened to withdraw from the agreement entirely if Congress does not act.