News Week – Democrat Nancy Pelosi has claimed that President Donald Trump “went rogue” with his move to end the Iran nuclear deal, as members of Trump’s Cabinet seek to downplay his opposition to the agreement signed between Tehran, the U.S. and Europe under Barack Obama.
The Democratic House minority leader said in an interview on This Week with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, “This week, the week of Friday the 13th, is the week that President Trump went rogue.”
Pelosi, a representative of California, said Trump’s decision on Iran, along with Trump’s executive order on health care and his tax plan, were based on “things that are not based on evidence.”
On Friday, Trump announced that he will decertify, but not outright cancel, the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement because “Iran is not living up to the spirit of the deal.” Trump is kicking the accord to Congress, indicating it should consider imposing sanctions.
The pact—signed between the United States, Iran, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, the European Union, France and Germany—has stopped Iran from working on a nuclear weapon in exchange for lifting damaging economic sanctions.
While Trump said Iran has “multiple violations of the agreement,” the International Atomic Energy Agency, which conducts strict monitoring procedures, says Iran is honoring its side of the accord. America’s allies and Tehran have said they will continue to honor the deal as written.
“We are working as Europeans to keep the Iran nuclear deal going,” said U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson ahead of an EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting Monday. “The U.K. has long thought that was very important for our collective security.”
Experts and politicians argue that meddling with the agreement could see it fail and kick off a crisis where Iran would restart its program to obtain a nuclear weapon. At the beginning of 2016, Tehran removed the core of its Arak nuclear reactor and filled it with concrete as part of the accord, so that it couldn’t create weapons-grade plutonium.
Despite Trump’s attack on the pact, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and other senior members of the administration argued that Trump wants to “stay in the deal” and improve it.
“We’re in the deal to see how we can make it better. And that’s the goal. It’s not that we’re getting out of the deal. We’re just trying to make the situation better so that the American people feel safer,” Haley said. “Our European allies need to remember they’re not the ones the threats are coming to.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivered a similar line in his appearance on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday. “Let’s see if we cannot address the flaws within the [Iran] agreement by staying within the agreement, working with the other signatories,” he said.
During his 2016 election campaign Trump called the Iran agreement the “worst deal ever.”
As president, he has certified the pledge, which is reviewed every 90 days to ensure Iran is in compliance, twice already. Yet his signature was obtained only after heated arguments with his advisers.
Even so, “the president is not walking away from the deal yet,” said Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, on Fox News Sunday. Iran, he said, has to revisit the pact “because otherwise what you do is you just give the Iranians the opportunity to develop the nuclear capability.”