Donald Trump hates the Iran nuclear deal. Brokered by the Obama administration and officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the agreement has the stated purpose of preventing Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability. But the president believes the deal gave Iran what it desperately wanted—relief from economic sanctions—while providing few to no mechanisms for pressuring Tehran to stop expanding its nuclear program. So the administration has quietly started talking about negotiating a new deal instead.
Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has told him as much. “I’ve had very good conversations with Tillerson about it,” says Corker. “I know his goal is, again, to have a different agreement over time that prevents them from ever enriching [uranium].” A White House source characterizes the administration’s ideal outcome as neither scrapping the JCPOA nor modifying it. Instead, the administration would seek a new follow-on deal with buy-in from the European allies who signed onto the agreement in Vienna two years ago.