WASHINGTON, DC — Mike Pompeo, U.S. President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Department of State (DOS), suggested during his confirmation hearing hosted Thursday by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations that the administration will not withdraw from the controversial Iran nuclear deal, stressing that it will focus on fixing the pact instead.
President Trump has been a staunch critic of the Iran nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA).
During the confirmation hearing, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) asked the prospective secretary of state, “If the president determines that you cannot modify this agreement and Iran is in compliance, what is your view as to whether America should withdraw unilaterally from the Iran nuclear agreement?”
Initially, Pompeo refused to answer the question, dismissing it as a hypothetical.
He eventually relented, telling the committee:
I want to fix this deal; that’s the objective. In the event that we conclude we can’t fix this deal … then the president is going to be given the best advice, including by me. If there’s no chance that we can fix it, I will recommend to the president that we do our level best to work with our allies to achieve a better outcome and a better deal.
The deadline to recertify the deal is May 12.
“Even after May 12, there’s still much diplomatic work to be done,” Pompeo noted.
In his prepared remarks, Pompeo emphasized Trump administration plans to “fix” the deal, which former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration negotiated.
President Trump is prepared to work with our partners to revise the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to fix its most egregious flaws. If confirmed, it will be an immediate personal priority to work with those partners to see if such a fix is achievable. The stakes are high for everyone, but especially Tehran.
Pompeo served as director of the CIA until President Trump chose him to serve as secretary of state following the recent firing of former DOS chief Rex Tillerson.