U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged Tuesday he and President Trump “have differences” on the nuclear deal with Iran, but said the Islamic republic was violating the spirit of the agreement with its activities, adding the U.S. was working with its allies to ensure Iran’s compliance with the deal.
Tillerson, at a news conference at the State Department, described his relationship with Trump as “good” and said he felt “comfortable telling him my views.”
“He and I have differences of views on things like JCPOA and how we should use it,” he said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “But, I think, if we’re not having those differences, I’m not sure I’m serving him.”
At issue is the deal Iran signed in 2015 with the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the European Union, under which it agreed to freeze its nuclear program in return for the lifting of some international sanctions. Under U.S. law, the administration must inform Congress every 90 days whether Iran is still complying with the agreement. Trump, who as presidential candidate called the deal “the worst” ever, certified—for the second time—last month that Iran was in compliance. He later told The Wall Street Journal: “If it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago.” Trump added he “would be surprised if they [Iran] were in compliance” in September, the next time he is scheduled to decide on the issue.