Published: Wed, October 04, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Defense chief says USA should stay in nuclear deal with Iran

Defense chief says USA should stay in nuclear deal with Iran

Dunford and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis are testifying before congressional committees Tuesday.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Tuesday that he believes it is in U.S national security interest to remain in the Iran nuclear agreement despite repeated hints from President Donald Trump that he is inclined to scrap the deal.

Sen. Angus King of ME asked Mattis during a congressional hearing if he thinks it's in the national security interests of the United States to stay a part of the global accord. King asked, adding after a brief pause, "That's a yes-or-no question".

Mattis was purposefully unclear on how many more USA troops would deploy to Afghanistan - and when - saying "more than 3,000" would bolster the 11,000 now on the ground "in the coming months", although senators on the committee said the number would be about 3,500.

The defense secretary later elaborated, saying he supported a "rigorous review".

Speaking at the conservative Hudson Institute in September, Hyten said "the facts are that Iran is operating under the agreements that we signed up for under the [Iran nuclear deal]".

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"The president gave me more flexibility to deal with this issue", Mattis said.

Iran and the other signatories - China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany - defend the deal as a guarantee of the peaceful, non-military purposes of Tehran´s nuclear program.

During his presidential campaign, Trump tarred the agreement as a "bad deal" for the United States and vowed to rip it up upon taking office.

Congressional Democrats are increasingly anxious Trump's distaste for the Iran nuclear deal will lead him to abandon the accord and imperil the ability to contain Iran's nuclear program.

Trump has sent mixed signals about the pact. But the USA president recertified the deal in July. That pressure reportedly reminded some of the analysts involved of the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

"I'd like for you to tell me how the inclusion of 3,500 is going to change the battlefield equation", Sen. "There was a sense of, 'We've seen this movie before'".

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On Friday, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged Europe to defy United States sanctions if Trump's administration abandons the JCPOA.

Nevertheless, Trump told the UN General Assembly last month that the global community had not heard the last of his complaints over the nuclear deal, which he campaigned against in his race for the presidency.

Trump has said he has made a decision on what to do about the agreement but has not said what he has decided.

Trump is also out of step with nuclear inspectors, who have found no evidence Iran has violated the deal. "It had decided in the past not to take action- it can decide again".

But this position is at odds with the majority of Trump's foreign policy and national security officials.

Some in the White House, Pentagon, and State Department are reportedly preparing from Trump not to recertify the deal by the October 15 deadline. That would let Congress effectively decide whether to kill the deal.

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