U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has walked back threats made by President Donald Trump to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, insisting that the United States would both remain in the accord and attempt to convince fellow coalition members to beef up the terms against Iran.
“We’re going to stay in,” Tillerson said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. “We’re going to work with our European partners and allies to see if we can’t address these concerns.”
Trump said Friday that he would pull out of the controversial Iran deal – the 2015 agreement spearheaded by former President Barack Obama that is seen as one of the cornerstones of his foreign policy legacy – but now Congress will weigh in on whether the United States will remain in the deal or reimpose sanctions on Iran.
According to Tillerson, Iran is currently in “technical compliance” with the terms of the agreement but has given the U.S. reasons to consider pulling out of the accord.
“They have remedied the violations, which then brings them back into technical compliance,” he said, noting that Trump’s main concerns lie in Iran’s support of terrorist groups throughout the Middle East and its budding ballistic missile program. “What the president wants is a more comprehensive strategy.”
“Let’s see if we cannot address the flaws in the agreement by staying within the agreement,” Tillerson suggested, “working with the other signatories, working with our European friends and allies within the agreement. But that, as I said, may come in a secondary agreement as well.”
Tillerson’s approach found support from Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who claimed that the situation with North Korea prompted another look at the Iran deal to ensure that Tehran does not follow in the footsteps of Pyongyang.