Senior White House officials and congressional leadership are scrambling to save the Iran nuclear deal and convince President Donald Trump to again waive key sanctions on the Islamic Republic despite opposition, according to multiple sources working on the matter who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.
The White House is facing down a weekend deadline by which it must waive key economic sanctions on Iran in order to preserve the nuclear accord. While Trump has expressed frustration about the need save the deal, senior national security officials are working to convince him that waiving these sanctions is the best course of action.
On the congressional front, Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) is said to be working with Senate Democrats on new legislation to hold Iran accountable for its ongoing ballistic missile construction and other rogue activities. That bill, sources said, is failing to gain traction among Republicans due to what many described as a range of flaws that mainly serve to lock in the Iranian nuclear deal and prevent Trump from abandoning it.
The latest efforts involve a legislative push that would preserve the nuclear deal not only in the short term, but limit the ability of Trump and future presidents to ever exit the deal.
“It’s pretty clear the people around the president are trying to sell him an Iranian Potemkin village of sorts,” said one source close to both the White House and congressional negotiations on the matter. “There is no legislation that would fix the deal on the table, only legislation that would lock in the deal and even make it worse on issues like missiles.”
Any legislation produced by Corker and Sen. Ben Cardin (D., Md.) will fail to garner support from Republican opponents of the deal, such as Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Tom Cotton (Ark.), and Marco Rubio (Fla.), the source said.
“Can’t anybody get through to the president and let him know that Corker-Cardin will be opposed by most everyone on the right?” the source asked in frustration.
A spokesman for Corker told the Free Beacon that he continues to work with the White House on legislation to address pressing gaps in the Iran nuclear deal.
“Senator Corker remains engaged in productive discussions with the White House and a number of his colleagues in the Senate about the appropriate path forward, and our allies continue to be updated on relevant developments,” the spokesman said.