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House Armed Services leader opposes ending nuclear deal with Iran

President of Iran Hassan Rouhani in the Kremlin (Kremlin.ru)

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Sunday that he “would counsel against” President Donald Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal this week.

“I thought it was a bad deal,” Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said of the 2015 agreement. “But the key question is, ‘OK, now we are where we are, what happens next if the U.S. pulls out?’”

Thornberry suggested that Iran could kick out inspectors if the deal is scrapped, “so that we lose what visibility we have there.” He also said that rising tensions between Iran and Israel would make it crucial for the U.S. and its allies in the deal “to be united to prevent that conflict.”

“Maybe the best thing is for the president to delay a bit more his deadline,” Thornberry said on “Fox News Sunday.” He suggested that the United Kingdom and France could pursue their suggestion of new negotiations to strengthen the deal.

Iran, however, has ruled out new talks, calling the current agreement “nonnegotiable.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said the U.S. would find ending the deal “a regret of historic proportions.”

Trump has refused to reveal what he’ll do by Saturday’s deadline. While repeating his belief that the existing agreement is “a horrible agreement for the United States,” he’s also suggested the U.S. could stay in.

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© 2018 Bloomberg News

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