Defense Secretary James Mattis said Tuesday that he thinks the U.S. should not withdraw from an Obama-era nuclear arms deal with Iran.
The surprising statement comes as President Donald Trump is evaluating whether to certify that the Islamic terror state is in compliance with the bargain.
‘Do you believe it is in our national security interest to remain in the Iran nuclear deal?’ one senator asked him during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
‘Yes, senator, I do,’ he replied after a pregnant pause.
‘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.
Defense Secretary James Mattis said Tuesday that he thinks the U.S. should not withdraw from an Obama-era nuclear arms deal with Iran
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s rogue nation has been accused repeatedly of violating the spirit of the 2015 deal but the U.S. has continued to declared every three months that Tehran is holding up its end of the bargain
President Donald Trump, pictured Tuesday in Puerto Rico, has called the nuclear deal with Iran a ‘disaster’ and ‘horrible’ for U.S. and Israeli national security
‘I believe at this point in time, absent indications to the contrary, it is something that the president should consider staying with,’ he continued.
Mattis told the Senate panel that Trump is ‘right now’ considering the possibility of pulling out of the deal, which calls for Tehran’s mullahs to limit their own ability to produce weapons-grade nuclear material for a decade.
Federal law requires the White House to state every 90 days whether Iran is holding up its end of the bargain.
The next due-date is October 15.
Last month Iranian government media reported on the test-firing a ballistic missile that could be configured to carry multiple warheads.
‘Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel,’ Trump tweeted then.
‘They are also working with North Korea. Not much of an agreement we have!’
Days later it emerged that it was a hoax and no such launch occurred.
‘Iran is not in material breach of the agreement,’ Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford (right) said Tuesday, ‘and I do believe the agreement to date has delayed the development of a nuclear capability by Iran’
The president told the United Nations General Assembly last month that the Iran deal isn’t working.
‘We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles,’ he said.
‘And we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program.’
Three days earlier, Trump told reporters at the White House that he had made up his mind about the fate of the nuclear agreement – but wouldn’t divulge his decision.
Before taking office in January, then-President-Elect Trump called his predecessor’s negotiated truce ‘the horrible Iran deal.’
Fake news? Trump tweeted condemnation last month about a supposed Iranian missile launch that never happened
Former president Barack Obama (center), pictured last week at the Invictus Games with former second lady Jill Biden (left) and Prince Harry (right), green-lighted the Iran nuclear deal in 2015
Mattis, while advocating for a cautious approach on Tuesday, castigated Tehran for its provocative behavior.
‘The amount of misconduct, I would call it, internationally – whether it be with ballistic missiles, rhetoric, support to terrorists, threats to our friends, Arab and Israel, in the region – by Iran, are areas where they are open, I think, a great deal to censure by the international community,’ Mattis told the senators.
‘And we are not naive about their agreement on the nuclear issue. And we are being very alert to any cheating on that right now.’
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford testified last week that Iran is not technically in violation of the 2015 deal.
‘Iran is not in material breach of the agreement,’ he confirmed on Tuesday.
‘And I do believe the agreement to date has delayed the development of a nuclear capability by Iran.’