Trump says he's aiming for new Iran deal that is 'better for them'

ELKHART, Ind. — Two days after withdrawing from a nuclear deal with Iran, President Donald Trump said Thursday that he wants to pursue a new accord with Tehran that is better for the U.S. and "better for them."

"I hope to be able to make a deal with them, a good deal, a fair deal — a good deal for them, better for them," Trump said at a campaign rally. "But we cannot allow them to have nuclear weapons. We must be able to go to a site and check that site. We have to be able to go into their military bases to see whether or not they're cheating."

The emphasis on the possibility of reaching a new agreement with Iran comes as critics — including former President Barack Obama — have noted that Trump's decision to restore sanctions on Iran could hurt his chances of getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

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Trump pulls US from Iran nuclear deal
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US President Donald Trump signs a document reinstating sanctions against Iran after announcing the US withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear deal, in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 8, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump announces his intention to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement during a statement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump signs a document reinstating sanctions against Iran after announcing the US withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear deal, in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 8, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump announces his intention to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement during a statement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump reacts to a question from the media after announcing his intention to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement during a statement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump announces his intent to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 08: U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a memorandum that re-instates sanctions on Iran after he announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room at the White House May 8, 2018 in Washington, DC. After two and a half years of negotiations, Iran agreed in 2015 to end its nuclear program in exchange for Western countries, including the United States, lifting decades of economic sanctions. Since then international inspectors have not found any violations of the terms by Iran. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump announces his decision on the Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 8, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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His remarks on a way forward with Iran could send two signals to Pyongyang in advance of a historic June 12 Singapore summit between the U.S. president and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un: that he's not totally abandoning the idea of a peaceful resolution with Tehran — and that he'll use all of his leverage in negotiating with North Korea.

Trump has argued that Obama gave up too much to Iran at a time when crippling sanctions gave the U.S. the most leverage in negotiations. He suggested those sanctions, which he is reimposing, are the predicate for forcing Iran into new talks that will benefit both countries.

"Who knows?" he said of the possibility of a new deal with Tehran, "because we're putting the harshest, strongest, most stringent sanctions on Iran."

Trump told a capacity crowd here, at a middle school gym in a county he won with 63 percent of the vote, that nuclear and non-nuclear wars result from "weakness."

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Best photos from Trump campaign rallies through the years
Pro-Trump supporters face off with anti-Trump protesters outside a Donald Trump campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Sandy Huffaker
A Trump supporter gestures prior to President Donald Trump's appearance at a rally in support of Senator Luther Strange at the Von Braun Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, U.S., September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Marvin Gentry
Supporters cheer as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally for Senator Luther Strange in Huntsville, Alabama, U.S. September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Donald Trump supporters and protesters clash outside Century II, where the Republican presdential caucus took place, in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
Donald Trump supporters cheer for their man inside Century II, where the Republican presdential caucus took place, in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
A young supporter of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a sign and foam finger before a campaign rally in Syracuse, New York April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds babies at a campaign rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S., July 29, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A baby is seen held up on shoulders before U.S. Republican presidential candidate Trump speaks at a campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in support of Republican congressional candidate Rick Sacconne during a Make America Great Again rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, U.S., March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally for Senator Luther Strange in Huntsville, Alabama, U.S. September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
A man wears a Trump 2020 campaign button as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in support of Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone during a Make America Great Again rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, U.S., March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
People pray before U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
TOTAL SPORTS, WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, MICHIGAN, UNITED STATES - 2018/04/28: A supporter seen raising a caps writting on it 'Make America Great Again' while the President Donald Trump gives a speech during a campaign rally in Washingtown Township, Michigan. (Photo by Chirag Wakaskar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
An attendee wearing a hat reading 'American Dreamer' takes a photograph during a rally with U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, in Washington, Michigan, U.S., on Saturday, April 28, 2018. Trump�took on most of his usual targets at a campaign-style rally on Saturday, including Democrats, the media and former FBI Director�James Comey, and urged his supporters to vote in midterm elections to prevent a rollback of his policies. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump sheds tears as she watches him speak during a rally with supporters at North Side middle school in Elkhart, Indiana, U.S., May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Supporters cheer for U.S. President Donald Trump as he speaks during a rally with supporters at North Side middle school in Elkhart, Indiana, U.S., May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
ELKHART, IN - MAY 10: President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a campaign rally on May 10, 2018 in Elkhart, Indiana. The crowd filled the 7,500-person-capacity gymnasium. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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His peace-through-strength approach to foreign policy is working, he said.

"We are unlocking new opportunities for prosperity and for peace," he said. "America is being respected again."

Though he visited a variety of topics during an hour-long speech — from border security to the economy — Trump's main goal was bringing together Indiana Republicans after a divisive Senate primary that resulted in businessman Mike Braun's nomination. To do so, he brought Vice President Mike Pence, a former governor and House member from Indiana, with him.

Both men ripped the incumbent, Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, for voting against their priorities, and Trump nicknamed the senator "Sleepin' Joe."

"This November, Indiana will face an important choice: you can send a really incredible swamp person back to the Senate like Joe Donnelly or you can send us Republicans like Mike Braun to drain the swamp," Trump said, asking voters here to "give me some reinforcements."

Donnelly's camp responded quickly, pointing out that he has voted with Trump more than 60 percent of the time since January 2017.

"It's okay that the president and Vice President are here today for politics," Donnelly said in a statement. "But problems only get solved when you roll up your sleeves and put in the hard work."

But as Trump touted his international negotiating skills, there was at least one ominous sign for his ability to bring tranquility to the Indiana Republican Party.

He and Pence both praised Rep. Todd Rokita, a vanquished Braun primary rival who attended the rally. But they had nothing to say about the other — and absent — defeated Republican, Rep. Luke Messer.

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