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Sen. Lankford on Netanyahu's Iran address: 'It's a big concern'

Senator James Lankford, R-Okla., speaks at a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (KOKH)

As President Donald Trump ponders withdrawing the United States from the Iran Nuclear Deal, a major announcement by an ally may have finally swayed his opinion.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced evidence Iran had lied about its nuclear program before signing the multi-national deal in 2015. That's something Oklahoma Senator James Lankford called "a big concern."

"They had the know-how, that's very, very clear. The two things they didn't have is time and money," said Sen. Lankford on an interview with Fox News. "The release of the sanctions released billions and billions of dollars to Iran and then they've been given 10 years of time to advance their program. It is a big concern."

Netanyahu's documents focused on Iran's nuclear activity prior to 2003, and didn't provide evidence that the country had violated the nuclear deal. But for Lankford, the biggest issue with the deal comes when it expires in seven years.

"When 2025 comes and this whole deal expires and sunsets, it gives Iran a clear lane to being able to move to have nuclear weapons and that has always been a problem," said Lankford.

Trump has long signaled he'll pull out of the deal unless there is some sort of revision. Lankford said the Senate has not been briefed on what the president has in mind in terms of changes, but points out the 2025 end date and continued allowance of ballistic missile tests need to be addressed.

French President Emmanuel Macron visited the White House for three days last week in hopes of swaying Trump's opinion.

Questions have also cropped up that backing out of or trying to renegotiate the nuclear pact could send a questionable message to North Korea at a point where Trump is trying to get the reclusive nation to give up its nuclear arsenal. But Lankford believes holding Iran accountable will set a benchmark for the Korea negotiations.

"The whole focus is we won't allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon at the end of the deal," said Lankford. "That should be the same focus with North Korea."

Lankford also discussed trade as the Trump administration announced a 30-day extension for steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

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