Tillerson: Iran ‘Clearly In Default’ Of Nuclear Deal Expectations

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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The Islamic Republic of Iran’s pursuit of ballistic missiles and continued support for designated terrorist organizations violates the spirit of the 2015 nuclear deal, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in London Thursday.

Tillerson recalled the preamble of the agreement, which expected the deal “will positively contribute to regional and international peace and security,” and contrasted it with the regime’s continued malign activity in the region. “Iran is clearly in default of these expectations of the JCPOA,” he said.

The secretary’s hardline stance comes weeks before the Trump administration must decide whether it will certify Iranian compliance with the deal to the U.S. Congress. The administration has twice certified the regime’s compliance, but the president has publicly indicated he does intend to do so again and has emphasized Iran’s behavior is more important to consider than its technical nuclear compliance.

“No decision has been made,” Tillerson said of the administration’s view of the deal.

Tillerson’s comments are particularly noteworthy given his past support of certifying Iranian compliance. Trump even indicated he would be over-ruling Tillerson if he de-certified Iranian compliance in July interview with The Wall Street Journal.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN ran defense for a potential decision to de-certify the deal in a speech before the American Enterprise Institute on Sept. 5, “We must consider the regime’s repeated, demonstrated hostility toward the United States. We must consider its history of deception about its nuclear program. We must consider its ongoing development of ballistic missile technology. And we must consider the day when the terms of the JCPOA sunset.”

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Saagar Enjeti