On Sunday, Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, said he believes that remaining in the Iran nuclear deal is in the nation’s best interest. Tillerson was asked if he agreed with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in not wanting Congress to impose sanctions that would lead to an immediate end of the deal, and said, “I do agree with that.”
As reported by The Hill, Tillerson confirmed his stance during an interview with CNN on the show “State of the Union.” He also added that he thought President Donald Trump also agreed with Mattis on the issue.
Tillerson stated that the US would attempt to address perceived flaws in the Iran nuclear deal while remaining in the agreement. This allows the US to work with friendly and allied nations.
He did add that the discussions may lead to a “secondary agreement,” suggesting it would augment the original.
Tillerson did say that the US wants to first fully enforce the current agreement and “the begin the process of addressing the flaws.”
His statements come after a declaration made by Trump on Friday that the current Iran nuclear deal was no longer in the best interest of the US, specifically because it was not being strictly enforced. However, Trump did not immediately withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which was formed during the Obama administration in 2015, and instead demanded reforms.
During a speech at the White House, Trump said, “I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification,” a reference to the need for Trump to certify Iran’s compliance with the deal.
Trump added, “We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.”
He asserted that Iran was “not living up to the spirit of the deal” and had committed “Multiple violations of the agreement.”
Trump did say that he is “directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons.”