Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, talked to reporters on Wednesday about President Trump’s decision on whether to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. He said that Trump has made his decision but has not yet shared it “externally.” In fact, when British Prime Minister Theresa May asked Trump to share his decision with her, “he said no.”
Tillerson acknowledged that he was surprised when Trump publicly declared that he had made his decision. Tillerson said that it would take time to prepare the implementation of that decision. The secretary of state did not hint at Trump’s direction but reiterated that the president has a long-standing position that the deal does not address troubling non-nuclear behavior despite the hopes of those who negotiated it.
Tillerson made these comments after a meeting of the parties involved in the nuclear deal, including Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The meeting marked the highest-level U.S.-Iranian dialogue since Trump became president.
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, the host of the meeting, said all parties — including Tillerson — agreed it “is working and is delivering for its purpose.” Tillerson did not argue with Mogherini’s point, but he did say that while Iran might be meeting its obligations to the letter of the deal, it is violating its spirit.
“Perhaps the technical aspects have (been met), but in the broader context the aspiration has not,” Tillerson said.
Tillerson maintained that the Trump administration was determined to address the flaws in the deal, the most serious of which are so-called “sunset provisions” that allow Iran to resume aspects of its nuclear program after a certain period of time.
“One can almost set the countdown clock to Iran resuming its nuclear activities,” Tillerson said.
The president reported that he made a decision on Iran a day after making his speech at the U.N. General Assembly. In that speech, he accused that Iran’s government “masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy.” He said they ruthlessly repress their people and exploit the limits of the nuclear deal.
Trump continued in his speech, “We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles,” Trump said. “And we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program.”
The Iranian leader, Rouhani, lashed back at Trump saying his speech included “ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric.”
Rouhani said in his address to the U.N. that his country won’t be the first to violate the nuclear deal, “but it will respond decisively to its violation by any party.” He spoke directly to Trump when he said, “It will be a great pity if this agreement were to be destroyed by rogue newcomers to the world of politics.”
Rouhani later told reporters at a news conference that the Iranian people are waiting for an apology from Trump for his “extremely offensive” rhetoric and baseless allegations. He also said that it would be a “waste of time” for him to meet with Trump.
What do you think Trump’s decision is regarding the Iranian nuclear deal?
Credit: Fox News