Nikki Haley: U.S. to Stay in Iran Nuclear Deal while Aiming to ‘Make It Better’

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said on Sunday that the U.S. would “stay” in the Iranian nuclear agreement negotiated between the world powers, including the U.S., and Iran, but “aim to make it better.”

Her comments came two days after U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he would not recertify the landmark agreement to Congress and would roll out a more hawkish approach toward Tehran.

“I think right now you are going to see us stay in the deal. What we hope is that we can improve the situation. What we’re trying to say is, ‘Look, the agreement was an incentive. The agreement was for you to stop doing certain things. You haven’t stopped doing certain things. So what do we do to make Iran more accountable so that they do? President Trump will be working “very closely with Congress to try and come up with something that is more proportionate,” Haley said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday.

Haley is said to have been a vocal proponent of decertification and played an important role in the U.S. new approach toward Iran. A Politico report over the weekend called her “Trump’s Iran whisperer” and said she “paved the way for decertification as other Cabinet members urged caution.”

Haley, in a July meeting in the Oval Office which also included national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Vice President Mike Pence, asked the president to let her make the case for decertification.

Haley would became the administration’s most vocal public proponent of decertification — and Trump’s favorite internal voice on Iran — further boosting her standing with the president at a time when she is seen as a potential successor to Tillerson.

“If Rex is America’s quiet diplomat, Nikki is America’s foreign policy articulator,” State Department spokesman R.C. Hammond said.

A month after her talk with Trump, Haley flew to Vienna to visit the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Association, where she pressed officials about Iranian compliance with the deal. Soon after, she delivered a speech at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., airing her “doubts and concerns” about the agreement.

In a much-anticipated speech on Friday, Trump said he would not recertify the Iranian nuclear deal, while not withdrawing from the pact — signed by the P5+1 powers and Iran in 2015 — and was launching a tougher strategy to check Iran’s “fanatical regime.” He warned that the deal could be terminated at any time.

“We cannot and will not make this certification. We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout,” he said.