With the Iran nuclear deal considered likely to survive in the U.S. Congress despite near-unanimous opposition from Republicans, two leading GOP presidential candidates now say they only want to rewrite the deal, not repeal it.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, while critical of the agreement, has indicated he would be unlikely to tear it up upon taking office in January 2017, as GOP contenders like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Texas Governor Rick Perry have promised to do.
Bush has not specified what changes he would make in the deal, but he was joined on September 4 by Donald Trump, the GOP candidate who remains furthest ahead in opinion polls.
Trump told MSNBC's Morning Joe program that it would make no sense to "repudiate" the deal, even though he believes it was "negotiated by totally incompetent people."
"We have a horrible contract, but we do have a contract," he said. "I would love to tell you I'm going to rip up this contract.... But you know what? Life doesn't work that way.... I have to do what's right."
Trump said he'd work to improve the agreement, if elected, and he believes he is qualified to do so, because as a businessman, he's had experience buying bad contracts and making them into good ones through negotiations with the other parties.
"This is a perfect example of taking over a bad contract," he said.
Trump also acknowledged that the United States would have a hard time trying to reimpose sanctions on Iran by the time a new president takes office in 2017.
That's because as the agreement is carried out during President Barack Obama's remaining year and a half in office, most sanctions on Iran will have been lifted and other countries will have resumed economic relations with Iran.
"We've lost the power of sanctions because all of these other folks, all of these other countries that were with us, are gone now.... And by the way, making money," Trump said.
"You see Russia selling missiles and Germany's involved. Everybody's involved now with Iran, selling them stuff. We're probably going to be the only ones that won't be selling them anything."
In seeking to rework the deal, Trump said he would make it "so tough" that "if they break it, they will have hell to pay."
With reporting by AP and The Washington Times