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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Iran: Corker says he expects Trump to exit nuclear deal in May 

European states trying to placate White House with new sanctions to save agreement

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker says he believes Donald Trump will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal in May J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker says he believes Donald Trump will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal in May J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he expects President Donald Trump to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement in May.

Britain, France and Germany have proposed fresh EU sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missiles program and its role in Syria's war in a bid to persuade Washington to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, according to a confidential document seen by Reuters.

But Mr Corker, who opposed the deal but backed legislation that the Trump White House says helped it pass Congress, told CBS' "Face the Nation" the agreement seemed to be on borrowed time.

"The Iran deal will be another issue that's coming up in May, and right now it doesn't feel like it's going to be extended," he said in an interview broadcast Sunday.

"The president likely will move away from it unless my, our European counterparts really come together on a framework. And it doesn't feel to me that they are."

The proposal is part of an EU strategy to save the accord signed by world powers that curbs Tehran's ability to develop nuclear weapons, namely by showing Mr Trump there are other ways to counter Iranian power abroad.

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Britain, France, Germany propose new Iran sanctions to meet Trump ultimatum

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The US president delivered an ultimatum to the European signatories on January 12. It said they must agree to "fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal," which was agreed under his predecessor Barack Obama, or he would refuse to extend US sanctions relief on Iran. Those sanctions will resume unless Mr Trump issues fresh waivers to suspend them on May 12.

Asked if he believed Trump would pull out on May 12, Corker responded, "I do. I do."

Mr Corker, a senior Republican, has frequently clashed with Mr Trump, and has described the current White House as "an adult day care center".