March 18, 2018 / 1:44 PM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 1-Republican senator expects Trump to pull out of Iran deal -CBS

(Adds quote, background on proposed EU sanctions)

WASHINGTON, March 18 (Reuters) - Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he expects President Donald Trump to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement in May.

“The Iran deal will be another issue that’s coming up in May, and right now it doesn’t feel like it’s gonna be extended,” Corker told CBS’ “Face the Nation” in an interview broadcast Sunday.

“I think 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,” he said.

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.

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 U.S. President Donald Trump there are other ways to counter Iranian power abroad.

Trump delivered an ultimatum to the European signatories on Jan. 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 U.S. sanctions relief on Iran. U.S. sanctions will resume unless Trump issues fresh “waivers” to suspend them on May 12.

Asked if he believed Trump would pull out on May 12, the deadline for the president to issue a new waiver to suspend Iran sanctions as part of the deal, Corker responded, “I do. I do.” (Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Jonathan Landay; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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