Mattis Suggests Sticking With Iran Nuclear Deal

Mattis Suggests Sticking With Iran Nuclear Deal

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Tuesday (October 3) offered qualified support for the Iran nuclear deal, ahead of an announcement by President Donald Trump on whether to stick with the agreement.

While deferring to the President's review, Mattis said he would support staying in the Iran nuclear deal if the United States could determine that Iran was abiding by the agreement and it was in the best interest of the United States.

"The point I would make is that if we can confirm that Iran is living by the agreement, if we can determine that this is in our best interest, then clearly we should stay with it," Mattis said in a Senate hearing.

"I believe at this point in time, absent indications to the contrary, it is something that the president should consider staying with," Mattis added.

U.S. President Donald Trump has concerns about the agreement and called it "an embarrassment".

Trump must decide by Oct. 15 whether to certify that Iran is complying with the pact, a decision that could sink the deal. If he does not, the U.S. Congress has 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions waived under the accord. A senior U.S. official said Trump is leaning toward not certifying that Iran is complying with the pact and letting Congress effectively decide whether to kill the agreement.

Under the landmark 2015 deal between six major powers and Iran, it was agreed sanctions imposed by the U.S., EU and U.N. were to be lifted in return for Iran agreeing to long-term curbs on a nuclear program that the West has suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.

The agreement was a political triumph for both former U.S. President Barack Obama, who had long promised to reach out to historic enemies, and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist elected on a promise to reduce the isolation of his nation of 80 million people.