Condoleezza Rice: Not 'End of the World' If Trump Leaves Iran Nuclear Deal

May 1, 2018

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday said it would not be the "end of the world" if President Donald Trump decides to leave the Iran nuclear deal.

"We've had various members of the Trump administration testify to congress that there is no proof that Iran is violating the 2015 accord. What is the damage if President Trump withdraws from the accord?" "CBS This Morning" anchor Norah O'Donnell asked.

"Let me say, I wouldn't have signed this agreement. I said that before. I think it was a weak agreement, particularly on verification," Rice said. "It allows Iran to break out after a specific period of time. I probably would have stayed in for alliance management reasons more than anything else. But I don't think that it's the end of the world if the administration leaves the agreement."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a presentation on Monday about the intelligence gathered by Israel that describes Iran's nuclear program. Senior Trump administration officials confirmed the findings as authentic and praised the prime minister for disclosing thousands of secret documents proving Iran lied about its past work on a nuclear warhead. Officials told the Washington Free Beacon the revelation was a "powerful presentation" by Israel outlining why the Iran deal must be fixed or killed.

"First of all, the reason that we have been so concerned about Iran is that we know that they lie and cheat about their nuclear weapons programs," Rice said. "I haven't seen the entire [Israeli intelligence] dossier, but I suspect that it simply reenforces what we've always known, that the Iranians were secretly developing nuclear weapons at secret sites."

Rice added that Netanyahu's presentation is important to the 2015 nuclear deal when it comes to verification.

"It doesn't, perhaps, speak to the 2015 agreement except in the following way – you have to worry about verification with the Iranians," Rice said. "The verification measures in the 2015 agreement were not very strong. They had, for instance, long periods of notification, long periods of dispute resolution, and so when you know that a country lies about its nuclear weapons, a verification machine that is weak is really problematic."

Trump said he will make a decision on whether to pull out from the Iran deal before or on the May 12 deadline.