Pompeo: Trump ‘unlikely’ to stay in Iran deal ‘absent substantial fix’

Newly confirmed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said President Trump is “unlikely” to stay in the Iran nuclear deal unless he can get “substantial” fixes.

“There’s been no decision made, so the team is working, and I’m sure we’ll have lots of conversations to deliver what the president has made clear,” Pompeo told reporters during a trip to Brussels for a NATO foreign ministers meeting. “Absent a substantial fix, absent overcoming the shortcomings, the flaws of the deal, he is unlikely to stay in that deal past this May.”

{mosads}Trump has set a May 12 deadline for European allies to agree to a supplemental deal to cover what he sees as gaps in the international accord or else he will essentially withdraw the United States from the agreement.

The Obama-era deal between the United States, Iran, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany and the European Union provided Tehran billions in sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

Trump sees three main issues with the deal: several provisions sunset, inspectors can’t demand to see some military sites, and it does not address Iran’s other activities, including its ballistic missile program and support for terrorist organizations.

The nuclear deal has been a main topic of Trump’s conversations with foreign leaders this week, first during French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit at the beginning of the week and then during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit Friday.

“Nobody knows what I’m going to do on the 12th, although, Mr. President, you have a pretty good idea — but we’ll see,” Trump said Tuesday at a joint press conference with Macron. “But we’ll see also, if I do what some people expect, whether or not it will be possible to do a new deal with solid foundations.

“Because this a deal with decayed foundations. It’s a bad deal. It’s a bad structure. It’s falling down. Should have never, ever been made. I blame Congress. I blame a lot of people for it. But it should have never been made, and we’re going to see what happens on the 12th.”

Macron later reportedly said he expected Trump to “get rid of this deal on his own, for domestic reasons,” according to BuzzFeed.

On Friday, Pompeo said the Iran deal was talked about “some” during the NATO meeting he attended on Friday.

He also expects it will also be a topic at stops later in his oversees trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan.

The discussions will include, Pompeo said, “not only talking about the concerns that President Trump has expressed consistently, but talking about ways to potentially address those shortcomings, finding potential solutions to the very flaws that President Trump has identified for a long time now.”

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