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Monday 16 January 2017
President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming chief of staff offered some hope that the new administration will abide by the Iran nuclear deal instead of tearing it up.
Asked by ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" if the Iran agreement would continue under Trump, incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said, “It's yet to be seen how that is going to shape up."
"We all know that President-elect Trump doesn't like the Iran deal, thinks it's a terrible document, thinks it will create a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, which it already is beginning to do,” Priebus added.
On the campaign trail, Trump vehemently criticized the Iran deal. He told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in May that "my number-one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran." He also later suggested that he would "renegotiate" the agreement.
But Trump's nominee for secretary of defense, retired Gen. James Mattis, made a noteworthy departure from his boss's position during his Senate confirmation hearing last week, saying, “I think it is an imperfect arms control agreement. It's not a friendship treaty. But when America gives her word, we have to live up to it and work with our allies.”
Priebus told Stephanopoulos he thinks the Iran deal "is on life support."
“I'm not here to declare one way or the other ultimately where this is going to go,” Priebus said.
In response to Mattis and Trump's different opinions, Priebus said the best way for the administration to decide on the Iran deal is through "a collective decision that is made, of course, with President-elect Trump having the primary say ... but all of those opinions will be in the room."
U.S. allies, including a group of European Union foreign ministers, along with dozens of the nation's top scientists have urged Trump to keep the agreement. But nearly every Republican presidential candidate ran on destroying the deal, which remains unpopular among the president's elect's political party.