03/14/2018, 15.38
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Pentagon vs Trump: Iran nuclear deal is in US interest

General Joseph Votel shares the opinion of the US Defence Secretary and Chief of Staff. The deal with Tehran settles one of the main global threats. However, Trump’s sacking of the Secretary of State shows that the deal is in trouble.

Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A Pentagon official has told a Senate hearing that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is in the interest of the United States. The plan, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, has been attacked by US President Donald Trump.

Speaking before the Senate committee, General Joseph Votel said he shared the opinion of Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and US Chief of Staff Joe Dunford, who consider the agreement between Iran and the 5+1 nations in the interests of the United States

"From my perspective, the JCPOA addresses one of the principal threats that we deal with from Iran. So, if [it] goes away, then we will have to have another way to deal with their nuclear weapons program," the general said.

During his election campaign, then candidate Donald Trump called the deal reached in 2015 by his predecessor Barack Obama "the worst ever". Since he came to office, he has repeatedly threatened to cancel it.

Differences of opinion on Iran are one of the reasons that prompted Trump to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who will be replaced at the end of the month by CIA chief Mike Pompeo.

Since he appointed to head the agency at the end of January 2017, Pompeo has been hawkish especially towards North Korea and Iran.

After years of embargo, Iran gained a partial easing of Western economic sanctions in 2015 in exchange for an agreement on its controversial nuclear programme.

Most of the international community welcomed the deal, which has allowed Iran to revive its economy and boost investment.

However, the Us and Israel remain critical. Washington has maintained a series of sanctions over Tehran's ballistic missile programme and its military support for Shia movements in the Middle East.

On 12 January, Trump signed a waver to suspend sanctions against Iran for another 120 days, but also said that this would be "the last time".

In two months time, on 12 May, the US leader is to determine the fate of the Iran deal. If sacking Tillerson is any indicator of Trump's decision on the issue, it suggests the accord is in trouble. 

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