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Tillerson: 'No Decisions Have Been Made' on Administration's Ultimate Policy Toward Iran

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks at the U.S Embassy in London on Sept. 14, 2017. (Hannah McKay/Pool Photo via AP)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in London today that, with outstanding speculation about America’s future in the P5+1 nuclear deal, the Trump administration is “continuing to review and develop its policy on Iran.”

“It is underway. There have been several discussions internally among our NSC and along with the discussions with the president. But — so no decisions have been made,” Tillerson said at a news conference alongside UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

“But I think it’s worth noting that, as the administration continues this review of the JCPOA, I think President Trump has made it clear to those of us who are helping him develop this policy that we must take into account the totality of Iranian threats, not just Iran’s nuclear capabilities; that is one piece of our posture towards Iran,” he added. “And I think if one revisits the preface to the JCPOA, that preface reads that the participants ‘anticipate that full implementation of this JCPOA will positively contribute to regional and international peace and security.’ That was one of the expectations of the JCPOA.”

Iran, Tillerson charged, “is clearly in default of these expectations of the JCPOA through their actions to prop up the Assad regime, to engage in malicious activities in the region, including cyber activity, aggressively developing ballistic missiles.”

“And all of this is in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, thereby threatening — not ensuring, but threatening — the security of those in the region, as well as the United States itself,” he said. “So we have to consider the totality of Iran’s activities and not let our view be defined solely by the nuclear agreement. So it continues to be under review. No final decision’s been made.”

The secretary of State said he had “a short but very useful opportunity” to meet with Prime Minister Theresa May this morning at which they “discussed a number of areas of mutual interest.”

“I expressed my appreciation to the prime minister for the very strong support and resolve of the United Kingdom both as an important member of the UN Security Council but also in the public statements and actions to send a very strong message to North Korea and the regime in North Korea that their efforts to advance their nuclear weapons programs and the threatening posture that they have taken is not acceptable to any member of the international community. And that support is very important in our efforts to bring that to a resolution,” Tillerson said.

“The prime minister and I had also had a discussion briefly about the threat that Iran poses to the region through its destabilizing activities in Yemen, in Syria, and other parts of the region, and we discussed our shared interest to find a solution to the conflict in Syria once the war against ISIS, the defeat of ISIS is concluded,” he added. “And again, we continue to welcome the opportunity to work closely with our counterparts in the United Kingdom.”

Tillerson noted that “while Brexit does present unique challenges to the British people, please know that you have a steadfast ally in the United States, and we will stand by our ally as Brexit continues to take shape.”