Sunday 18 November 2018

US and Europe working on new Iran nuclear deal, says Tillerson

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Photo: Cliff Owen/AP
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Photo: Cliff Owen/AP

Lidia Kelly

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said yesterday that working groups on fixing what the US sees as flaws in the Iranian nuclear deal have already begun to meet.

Tillerson, ending a week-long European trip in Warsaw, said he had secured support from Britain, France and Germany - all parties to the 2015 agreement - to work on the deal, which US President Donald Trump has warned he will walk away from unless changes are made.

"It's always darkest before the dawn," Tillerson told journalists. "The working groups have already begun to meet on efforts to agree principles, what is the scope of what we attempt to address and also how much we engage Iran on discussions to address these issues."

The nuclear deal gave Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in return for curbs on its atomic programme.

Trump vowed to stop waiving US sanctions unless the Europeans agreed to strengthen the deal's terms. Iran has rejected any renegotiation.

Tillerson said the nuclear deal was only a "small" part of US policy in the Middle East, and Washington was more immediately concerned about other issues including Iran's support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen and its supplying weapons to militias in the region.

"Our work group also is intending to identify areas of greater co-operation (with) Europe to push back on Iran's malign behaviour," he added.

Despite statements from Russia that Washington's accusations against Moscow that it and the Syrian army were behind a chemical attack in eastern Ghouta were "unfounded", Tillerson said ultimately Russia bore responsibility.

Sunday Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News