After weeks of back and forth between U.S. officials and the European nations involved in the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. is possibly considering allowing Iran to only restrict its long-range ballistic missiles, which European countries are reportedly pressing the Trump Administration for.
The U.S. is also considering allowing the country to keep its stockpile of short- and medium-range missiles, according to officials familiar with the details of the deal, the Washington Free Beacon recently reported.
The missiles would still be capable of striking targets such as Israel and other Middle East nations. With European nations’ proposed changes, U.S. officials are concerned with Iran’s capability to strike Israel at any time.
Allowing Iran’s short- and long-range missiles to essentially go unregulated leaves Israel and other neighboring nations vulnerable to an unpredictable regime.
The European demands come before Trump’s proposed May 12 deadline, when he may decide to embrace the proposed changes to the Iran nuclear deal or abandon it completely.
The President has long considered the agreement as one of the “worst” deals in U.S. history and has sought to implement tougher rules and sanctions on Iran in order to make the deal more fair.
The President has garnered much support in his quest to alter the accord, with Sen. Ted Cruz also advocating for tough new restrictions on Iran. The Senator was quick to criticize the Europeans’ proposed fixes that are allegedly supported by some members of Trump’s camp.
“Obama’s Iran nuclear deal was fatally flawed from the beginning,” Cruz said. “The deal required reckless international concessions and incentivized the international community to turn a blind eye to Iranian bad behavior. These proposed European ‘fixes’ don’t address the missiles Iran would actually build, the inspection problems that would actually arise, or the eventual sunsets as they would actually occur. They would only constrain the Iranians from doing things they never would have done. President Trump should reject these empty promises and withdraw America from this disastrous deal.”
With the questionable new terms presented by the European parties, this could now lead the President to follow through with his promise to abandon the deal entirely.
“This is a last chance,” on administration official said, the Free Beacon reported. “In the absence of a commitment from our European allies to work with us to fix the deal’s flaws, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. And if at any time the President judges that agreement is not within reach, the United States will withdraw from the deal immediately.”
While Trump’s talk on the Iran nuclear deal has been tough, administration insiders are concerned that the President may ultimately cave in to Europe’s propositions.
Still, officials stress that negotiations are ongoing. On a recent trip to Washington, D.C., European officials reportedly attended a dinner meeting with former Obama Administration officials and Iran deal supporters in the hopes that they could preserve the accord.
“When political directors [from European allied countries] came to town, they huddled with the deal’s supporters, another sign they’re just looking to preserve the [agreement],” a veteran foreign policy adviser told the Free Beacon.
Member of the Jewish community close to the Trump Administration have also expressed concerns with Europe’s proposed conditions.
“I honestly don’t know how the President can sell Israel down the river like that,” said one Jewish official who routinely engaged with the White House on Iran issues. “It’s bad enough they’re trying to deal with missile threats to their north alone. Now Iran gets a green light to perfect missiles that will one day constitute an existential threat to Israel’s existence?”