Defense Secretary James Mattis on Thursday defended the Iran nuclear deal as his boss, President Donald Trump, appears ready to withdraw the United States from the accord. Testifying in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Mattis said the verification requirements and nuclear inspection regimes built into the Obama-brokered deal are “pretty robust as far as our intrusive ability.” He added that it’s a “valid question” to ask whether those provisions of the deal are “sufficient.” Ahead of the May 12 deadline for the president to certify that Iran is in compliance with the terms of the deal, the U.S. is negotiating with its European partners to seek improvements to the existing framework. French President Emmanuel Macron, who was in Washington this week for a state visit at the White House, predicted on Wednesday that Trump would pull the U.S. out of the agreement.
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