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Former Trump Admin Officials Say Iran Nuclear Deal Won't Work, It's Time for 'Excruciating Pressure'

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The so-called "final round" of negotiations for a new nuclear deal with Iran could be stalling out. An Iranian National Security Council member says American negotiators seem unwilling to accept Tehran's terms. 

Officials believe Iran is only weeks away from having enough fuel to make a nuclear weapon ... something the Biden administration blames on former President Donald Trump.

"Iran's increased capability and capacity, the aggressive actions they have taken through proxy wars around the world. None of the things that we are seeing now with Iran would have happened if the former president didn't withdraw from the Iran deal," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing last month. 

But Len Khodorkovsky, a former senior adviser to Trump's Iran Envoy, says their maximum pressure campaign did exactly what it was meant to. 

"Iran was down to about four million in cash reserves when the Biden administration came to office. That was the result of the sanctions and the pressure of the maximum pressure campaign. Its proxies around the region were at the weakest point ever, as was the regime," Khodorkovsky told CBN News. 

He says all that changed was an easing of sanctions after Biden took office. 

"Which sent the wrong signal to the Iranian regime and unleashed their sprints to where they are right now. So the Biden administration gave the Iranian regime the space it needed, the cover it needed to get to where they are, and much, much greater leverage, of which they had really none, when the administration started," Khodorkovsky explained. 

While current thinking is that re-entering a nuclear deal is the only way to prevent a nuclear Iran, Khodorkovsky and other former Trump administration officials point to alternative options.

"I think the only way to reverse the progress that the Iranian regime has made today is to turn maximum pressure to excruciating pressure. That will send exactly the right message as to what we find acceptable," said Khodorkovsky.

Former Deputy Special Envoy to Combat Anti-Semitism, Ellie Cohanim, says Iran has a track record of cheating on its deals with the U.S. and a diplomatic track may no longer be the answer. 

"Many voices argue that the United States should actually show a very strong military resolve to the Iranians and let them understand that there are red lines that they cannot cross and that if the Iranians are not willing to let go of their desire to achieve a nuclear weapons state, that there would be military consequences to that decision making," Cohanim told CBN News.

When the U.S. re-entered negotiations with Iran, President Biden promised a new deal would be longer and stronger than the original. 

Khodorkovsky calls the deal that's currently on the table, weaker and shorter. While Republicans vow to block a final agreement if the administration sends it to Congress, Democrats maintain they won't have the votes. 

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About The Author

Caitlin Burke Headshot

Caitlin Burke serves as National Security Correspondent and a general assignment reporter for CBN News. She has also hosted the CBN News original podcast, The Daily Rundown. Some of Caitlin’s recent stories have focused on the national security threat posed by China, America’s military strength, and vulnerabilities in the U.S. power grid. She joined CBN News in July 2010, and over the course of her career, she has had the opportunity to cover stories both domestically and abroad. Caitlin began her news career working as a production assistant in Richmond, Virginia, for the NBC affiliate WWBT