Nuclear accord with Iran in USA interest: Mattis

Nuclear accord with Iran in USA interest: Mattis”

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis testified Tuesday that the United States should remain in the Iran nuclear deal, as President Trump weighs whether to renew the controversial agreement ahead of an October 15 deadline.

White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster has defended Trump's criticism of the deal, saying it had the "fatal flaw" of a 'sunset clause, ' under which some of the deal's restrictions on Iran's nuclear program expire from 2025.

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations said the statement was precipitated by a Reuters report that International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Yukiya Amano has confirmed the agency is seeking "more clarification" on inspection and verification. "I believe at this point in time absent indications to the contrary, it is something the president should consider staying with".

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) asked Mattis specifically whether he believed it was in the US national security interest to remain with the deal.

"Yes, sir. I do", Mattis said.

Trump has recertified the deal twice since taking office in January, but has indicated that he might not this time.

If he determines it is violating the deal lawmakers will have 60 days to decide on new sanctions.

President Donald Trump has made numerous hints that he is considering unravelling the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), potentially at the expense of relations with European allies, Russia, China, and Iran. Since his presidential campaign, Trump has spared no kind words for Iran or the nuclear pact, which he called "an embarrassment" during a speech to the United Nations General Assembly last month.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis said he believes the U.S. should remain in the Iran nuclear agreement despite hints from President Trump that he is inclined to scrap the deal.

The 2015 accord sought only to block Iran from building a nuclear weapon.

European ambassadors speaking in Washington last week said they would do everything possible to protect any companies based in Europe that continue to do business with Iran from reimposed USA sanctions. Now it appears that some countries are attempting to shield Iran from even more inspections.

The president and administration officials have said the deal doesn't address Iran's missile development or its activities in the region, including support for Houthi rebels in Yemen and for the regime of Syria's Bashar al-Assad. A week later, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also said Tehran is in compliance. And that's under consideration right now about how we deal with both the legal requirement from the Congress as well as the worldwide agreement.

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