Sen. Tom Cotton said he expects President-elect Trump step up enforcement of the Iran nuclear deal but stop short of pulling the U.S. out of the agreement. But that won't save the deal.
The Arkansas Republican, a vocal opponent of President Obama's deal with Iran to limit the rogue regime's nuclear weapons program, said Tehran is likely to react to stricter policing by the incoming Trump administration by crying foul and refusing to comply going forward.
"I believe the Iran deal is dead," Cotton said, during an interview with the Washington Examiner's "Examining Politics" podcast.
Congressional Republicans are broadly opposed to the Iran deal. The outgoing administration, in negotiation with other world powers, signed an executive agreement, meaning it is not a treaty, giving Trump the power to end U.S. participation in the accord.
However, the U.S. re-imposing sanctions on Iran for, in Washington's view, continuing to develop a nuclear weapons program, would not affect the other nations involved, and they would be free to continue with the deal and granting Tehran sanctions relief.
But Cotton said that Iran has been in violation of the deal and that only Obama choosing to look the other way has prevented the U.S. from taking steps, under the rules of the agreement, to crack down on the Ayatollahs.
Cotton predicted that Trump would change course, eventually pushing world powers to concede that Iran is violating the agreement, or motivating the country's rulers to pull out of the deal altogether.
Cotton also expects that the U.S. will begin standing up to Iranian aggression in the Middle East once Trump takes office.
"Donald Trump is going to be much more forceful on the terms of the nuclear deal itself, and that itself may cause the Ayatollahs to walk away. But I also know that he intends to confront Iranian regional aggression and their imperial project throughout the Middle East," Cotton said.
"I don't expect there's going to be many more Iranian boats chasing after ours, or aircraft buzzing our airplanes," he continued. "I suspect you're going to see us standing up to Iran's efforts in places like Yemen and Iraq more aggressively. Barack Obama refused to do that."