Speaking to reporters during his first overseas trip since confirmation, new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he believes it is very “unlikely” that President Trump will keep the United States in the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran past May 12.
Trump established the May 12 ultimatum months ago, demanding major changes to the deal. Pompeo says that absent a “substantial fix” of the deal to address Trump’s demands, Trump will presumably pull out, though no decision has been made.
The three EU members of the deal, Britain, France, and Germany, are offering a sideline deal to try to satisfy Trump. Iran and Russia are both rejecting any changes to the deal itself, however, meaning that the Europeans can only offer a totally separate agreement.
Trump’s opposition to the nuclear deal centers on three issues. He wants limits on Iran’s civilian nuclear program to not sunset in the future. He also wants the IAEA to access non-nuclear military sites, which the IAEA has not sought to access at all. Finally, he wants the nuclear deal to “address Iran’s other activities,” like having conventional missiles.
The expectation is that Europe will offer to back the US on the last of those demands, agreeing to support US efforts against Iran’s conventional military capabilities. None of this is going to end up in the nuclear deal, however, and that may mean President Trump will remain unsatisfied.
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