President Trump certified Iranian compliance with President Obama’s nuclear deal despite repeatedly telling top advisers that he didn’t want to certify Iranian compliance, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
Trump certified that Tehran is abiding by its end of the deal on Monday — his second time doing so since taking office in January.
But the president has fiercely criticized the agreement, calling it “the worst deal ever.” Trump made that position known in meetings with his top security aides and advisers, the Times reported.
In an hour-long meeting last week, for example, Trump spent 55 minutes telling some of his highest-ranking security advisers that he wanted to abandon the Iran deal.
But top Trump administration members, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, pressed the president to maintain the agreement for now.
While Trump was away from Washington last week and over the weekend, his team crafted a new strategy toward Iran that they hoped would quell the president’s concerns. But Trump criticized the proposal on Monday during his morning security briefing, according to the Times report.
He sparred with Tillerson on the matter during another meeting on Monday, and only agreed to certify Iran’s compliance after a meeting in the Oval Office later that day.
The administration is required to certify to Congress every 90 days that Tehran is sticking to the terms of the agreement.
The deal is intended to curb Iran’s development of nuclear weapons in exchange for relief from some international sanctions. It still allows the United States and other countries to penalize Tehran for other actions, like funding terrorist organizations.