Quantcast i24NEWS - US CENTCOM chief says nuclear deal 'addresses' Iran threats

US CENTCOM chief says nuclear deal 'addresses' Iran threats

The Iranian nuclear power plant of Natanz, south of Tehran on March 30, 2005
Henghameh Fahimi (AFP/File)
Trump is threatening to scrap the international agreement unless tough new restrictions were placed on Iran

The Iranian nuclear deal is still in the best interests of the United States, a senior Pentagon official said Tuesday, going against President Donald Trump's claim that it's a "terrible" agreement.

US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel told a Senate panel he shared the views of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"From my perspective, the JCPOA addresses one of the principal threats that we deal with from Iran," Votel said, using the deal's official acronym.

"So, if the JCPOA goes away, then we will have to have another way to deal with the nuclear weapons program."

Trump is threatening to scrap the international agreement unless tough new restrictions were placed on Iran before May 12.

He cited disagreements on the issue as a reason for his decision to fire on Tuesday his diplomatic chief Rex Tillerson and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who is considered hawkish.

SAUL LOEB (AFP/File)

The president is concerned that parts of the deal start to expire from 2026 and that it fails to address Iran's missile program, its regional activities or its human rights abuses.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also counseled the president to "fix or nix" the agreement while he was in Washington DC earlier in March, urging him to override European efforts to keep the deal together by addressing concerns over Iran's missile program. 

A US exit could kill the nuclear pact, which the Islamic republic has refused to re-negotiate. 

Struck in 2015, it was signed by Iran with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany.

Under the agreement, Iran agreed to freeze its nuclear program in return for the lifting of punishing international sanctions

While Iran has reaped massive economic benefits from the accord, notably by being able to resume oil exports, it is still constrained by US sanctions in other areas.

Read more:

US using Kurdish militia to prevent Iran-Lebanon ground axis: general

Iran sticking to nuclear deal: UN watchdog

Comments

(0)
8Previous articleWho is Gina Haspel, Washington's new top spymaster?
8Next articleTrump ousts top diplomat Tillerson, replacing him with CIA chief Pompeo