House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry said Tuesday he doesn't like the Iran nuclear deal, but he still wants President Donald Trump to keep the United States in it.
"You're right, I don't like the deal," the Texas Republican told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" co-host Bill Hemmer. "Iran already got a plane load of cash, as well as sanctions relief. But the question is, now, what happens?"
"I'm concerned that if we completely withdraw from the deal, Iran will have an excuse to kick out the inspectors," Thornberry said. "The sanctions will not be reimposed by our European allies and so we lose what insight we've got now."
He acknowledged that the inspectors do not have enough access to Iran's nuclear facilities, "but it gives us more than we would have otherwise."
"If it were up to me I would tell the French and British 'OK, you have another two or three months to strengthen the deal, to get the inspectors into these other sites and to curtail their missile program,'" Thornberry added.
There are many options, however, he said, including staying all the way in the deal, getting all the way out, "or a whole lot of in between and that's what none of us know."
Meanwhile, most of the cash that was sent to Iran and the sanctions relief have gone to the security forces, as the Iran regime's main goal is to remain in power, said the lawmaker.
"They are going to use whatever resources they have, whatever they can to stay in power, which makes it even more important for us to work with allies and to strengthen our own military," Thornberry said. "
Thornberry said he assumes that Trump will withdraw from at least part of the deal, but the question remains about how much he'll leave.
"There are some sanctions on the central bank, some on individuals and companies," said Thornberry. "I assume that he will at least withdraw from part of it. But that's why I say the question is how much of it. There are some sanctions on the central bank. Some on individuals and companies. We'll just have to see. "
Thornberry also discussed Trump's upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and said he does believe the two will end up talking, but he does not believe North Korea will ever completely give up its nuclear weapons program.
"I think it is really important that we put them to the test and that's exactly what the president is doing," said Thornberry. "I don't think there is trust, and the Chinese have been more helpful than they have in the past but remember, they aren't doing anything out of the goodness of their heart.
"They are only taking steps because we are showing that not only are we willing to get the world to apply sanctions to North Korea but we're building up our military in their backyard and that's what they are trying to thwart."
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