U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Tuesday that she “never thought the Iran deal could be fixed.” Even so, the Trump administration spent months consulting with other countries on ways to improve the agreement, before the United States withdrew from it entirely in May and reimposed sanctions on Iran. “You could change it to be a better deal, but you couldn’t change it to be a good deal,” she said during an appearance at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, D.C.
In explaining why she felt the Obama-era pact to restrict Iran’s nuclear-weapons program was so problematic, Haley described Iran as part of the Trump administration’s broader challenge of confronting nuclear proliferation among U.S. adversaries. “Look at North Korea. Look at how we’re pulling teeth to get them to stop” their nuclear-weapons program, she noted. “We’re not gonna get Iran to stop [once it acquires nuclear weapons]. Russia’s building up [their nuclear-weapons arsenal], China’s building up theirs. We have to defend America at every turn.”
“You give literally millions of dollars” in economic relief to Iran “and they don’t stop their ballistic-missile testing, they don’t stop selling arms, and they continue to support terrorism,” Haley continued. “I look at [Iran] as the next North Korea. If you continue to fund this, and they continue to do these bad acts, and no one holds them accountable, we one day are going to be talking about Iran the same way we talk about North Korea.”