At the UN, Secretary Tillerson Meets His Iranian Counterpart

Saul Bowman
September 23, 2017

"I don't think you've heard the last of it, believe me", Trump said. The European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, chairs the joint commission that is monitoring the deal's implementation.

Rouhani told a news conference that the Trump administration is seeking "an excuse" to pull out of the nuclear agreement that caps Iran's nuclear activities which is supported by his government and the five other parties-Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

Iran will not violate the global deal that lifted sanctions in exchange for curbs on Tehran's nuclear program, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday, adding that it would be a "great pity" if "rogue newcomers" destroyed the deal.

"Regrettably, since the agreement was confirmed we have seen anything but a more peaceful, stable region and this is a real issue", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters at the United Nations.

The news comes after Trump suggested that Iran is not complying with the agreement while speaking to the United Nations General Assembly. He later told reporters that he had decided what to do about the agreement but would not reveal what he had decided. "When it comes to defending our country, we will ask nobody for their permission", he said.

He twice mentioned ancient Iranian gestures of friendship toward the Jews as exemplars of the current regime's alleged commitment to diversity.

With Europeans not on the same page as the Trump administration, Iranian officials say they have an opportunity to divide the P5+1 group that negotiated the deal with Iran.

Elsewhere in his speech, Trump warned that he would "totally destroy" North Korea if the country threatened the United States or its allies.

But Washington says they breach the spirit of the agreement as they have the potential to carry a nuclear warhead and has imposed new sanctions over Tehran's continuing launches and tests. "And we can not abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear programme". In a dismissive jab at Trump he said, "It will be a great pity if this agreement were to be destroyed by rogue newcomers to the world of politics".

French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters in NY "it would be a mistake to annul the nuclear agreement without anything else".

Iranian expatriates gathered at a plaza on Wednesday to protest an appearance at the United Nations by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

University of Pennsylvania political science professor Ian Lustick said Trump's handling of the situation is "creating an unnecessary crisis" and that the administration's approach has been to find ways to enforce the deal that are so irritating to Iran that it withdraws.

He added, "any break-up in Iraq or Syria does not benefit regional stability and we are ready to work with Iran to strengthen the foundations of peace and security in the region". They met behind closed doors with the other countries involved in a nuclear deal that President Trump has threatened to pull the US out of.

The Trump administration has never briefed Congress behind closed doors about Iran's compliance with the deal, a point that ranking Democrats on several Senate committees made in a Wednesday letter to administration officials.

"It's pretty hard to say that the expectations of the parties who negotiated this agreement have been met", he said, citing Iranian behavior in the Middle East and elsewhere.

KELEMEN: You know, one of the things that the USA has complained about are these sunset clauses, and that is that the restrictions on the nuclear program go away over time.

The letter asked the administration to provide a written report and, where appropriate, public testimony to Senate committees, before October 6, if it is aware of any information suggesting Iran is not complying or that would lead Trump to conclude that the continued suspension of sanctions is not in the USA national security interest.

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