Tillerson: Iran in ‘technical compliance’ with nuclear deal

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that Iran is in “technical compliance” with the 2015 nuclear deal, but said the plan has not stopped the threat posed by Tehran.

Tillerson’s comments came after Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s top foreign affairs official, said that all parties to the Iran nuclear deal agree that Tehran is in compliance with the plan.

Mogherini told reporters after a high-level meeting of the countries involved in the deal that it “is working and is delivering for its purpose,” according to The Associated Press.

President Trump, however, has railed against the deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), saying during a speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that it is “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”

{mosads}Trump is nearing an October deadline for certifying Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, which aims to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, and has signaled recently that he could decline to do so. 

The meeting Wednesday night, which included officials from the U.S., Iran, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and China, marked the highest-level meeting to date between the Trump administration and Iranian officials.

Mogherini said that she could not say whether the Trump administration would remain a party to the nuclear deal, but emphasized the agreement’s importance.

In a press briefing after the meeting, Tillerson said that the U.S. did not dispute that Iran was in “technical compliance” with the JCPOA. 

But he said that the meeting focused only on the technical aspects of the deal, and that the U.S. complaints about Iran remained more political. He said that Mogherini’s comments referred only to technical compliance with the JCPOA.

“I think the high commissioner was reflecting the rigid and strict contours of the agreement itself,” he told reporters.

Tillerson offered no clues as to when Trump would announce whether he would once again certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal, saying that the president does not broadcast his decisions to those outside the administration unless “he thinks it’s useful.”

“He has not shared decision with anyone externally,” Tillerson said. [U.K.] Prime Minister [Theresa] May asked him if he would share it with her, and he said no.” 

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