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U.S. general signals support for Iran nuclear deal

U.S. general signals support for Iran nuclear deal

If the deal unravels and Iran concludes it has no economic incentive to hold back on its nuclear work, then Tehran could expel United Nations inspectors and head down a fast track to building nuclear weapons - possibly in a matter of months. Tillerson had joined Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in pressing a skeptical Trump to stick with the agreement with Iran. And a meeting of all the signatories to the Iran deal, which includes the U.K., France, Germany, Russia, China, Iran, and the United States, is scheduled for Friday in Vienna.

He confirmed that American diplomats also met with an Iranian delegation on the sidelines of a gathering of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Joint Commission, or JCPOA, but didn't provide details.

As CIA chief and Iran hawk Mike Pompeo prepares to run the State Department, the Trump administration is weighing a speedier withdrawal from the agreement than even the president has threatened, according to two USA officials and two outside advisers briefed on the matter.

The current situation around Iran's nuclear deal underscores the contradictions in the U.S. position, according to the scholar.

Pompeo, 54, is a strong critic of Iran and the nuclear deal.

Ahead of the talks, a senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official has ruled out speculation that Iran could accept a side deal to the JCPOA, saying the global document is basically not re-negotiable.




Trump has said he sees three defects in the deal: its failure to address Iran's ballistic missile program; the restrictive terms under which global inspectors are allowed to visit suspected Iranian nuclear sites; and its "sunset" clauses under which the deal's limits on Iranian nuclear activities such as uranium enrichment start to expire after 10 years.

"The president has instructed us to see if we can come to an agreement with the Europeans by May 12", said Hook. One senior negotiator involved in the talks said last week that Europe is prepared to be "creative" in addressing the provisions but would not budge from opposing any measure that would punish Iran for activity that is otherwise permitted under the 2015 agreement.

Trump has said he wants all three strengthened if the United States is to stay in the deal. Doing so would buy USA negotiators time to deal with elements of the agreement Trump has disparaged - such as its expiration dates on key nuclear constraints - and missile and terrorism concerns.

"We believe that we can work within the Iran nuclear deal to strictly enforce it while we are working on all of the aspects outside of Iran's nuclear program", he said. Trump has repeatedly called the agreement "the worst deal ever", diminishing the likelihood of a compromise before May 12.

US President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, February 23, 2018. Under that scenario, the United States - and Israel - may decide to take military action to prevent Iran from obtaining the bomb or at least slow down a bid for nuclear-tipped missiles.

Because Iran and the Europeans refuse to renegotiate the nuclear deal, US officials are seeking to create a supplemental agreement with Europe to address these matters.


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