President Donald Trump speaks before signing an executive order establishing regulatory reform officers and task forces in US agencies in Washington, DC on February 24, 2017.
Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images

Trump grudgingly admits Obama’s Iran nuclear deal is working

Updated

The New York Times reports that Donald Trump had an hour-long meeting with his top national security advisers last week, including the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the White House National Security Advisor, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They all told the president the same thing: he needs to preserve the international nuclear agreement with Iran.

Trump, however, reportedly spent 55 minutes of the 60-minute meeting “telling them he did not want to.”

He did it anyway.

President Donald Trump’s administration on Monday declared that Iran was complying with its nuclear agreement with world powers, but warned that Tehran was in default of the spirit of the accord and that Washington would look for ways to strengthen it.

It was the second time Trump certified Iranian compliance with the agreement since he took office in January, despite criticizing it during the 2016 campaign as “the worst deal ever.”

Circling back to our previous coverage, it’s worth emphasizing that there’s no reason to believe Donald Trump has any idea what the Iran deal is or what it does, but the president is nevertheless sure he doesn’t like it. The Republican has called the deal “terrible” and “horrible.” As a candidate, Trump declared, “My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.”

Just one month into his candidacy, he said the Iran deal “poses a direct national security threat.” Two weeks later, Trump added that the international agreement “will go down as one of the dumbest [and] most dangerous misjudgments ever entered into in [the] history of our country.” After wrapping up the GOP nomination, he went so far as to say the deal is likely to “lead to nuclear holocaust.”

And yet, here we are.

As we discussed in April, the debate over one of the Obama administration’s most important foreign policy accomplishments clearly hasn’t gone the Republicans’ way. Two years ago, when GOP officials weren’t trying to sabotage sensitive international negotiations – we haven’t forgotten, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) – they were predicting the inevitable failure of the agreement.

At least for now, those predictions were wrong. The policy is working, and Trump’s whining notwithstanding, his administration can’t justify abandoning the international agreement.

Donald Trump, Foreign Policy, Iran and Nuclear

Trump grudgingly admits Obama's Iran nuclear deal is working

Updated