The US diplomat-in-chief spoke on the eve of his first meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and foreign ministers from the five other signatories of the 2015 nuclear accord: Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation.
Tillerson made the remarks on Wednesday after he and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met as parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) at an EU-organized event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in NY where European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that all parties to the nuclear deal agree that Iran is in compliance with the plan.
U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster refused Thursday to disclose whether President Donald Trump has chose to withdraw the United States from the 2015 worldwide pact curbing Iran's nuclear weapons development, but said the decision will be part of a broad U.S. strategy toward Iran.
The United States' closest allies in Asia seemed blindsided by US President Donald Trump's latest outburst against North Korea, in which he threatened not just to act against Kim Jong-un's regime but to destroy an entire country of 25 million people. Those provisions relate to enriching uranium to levels near those needed to produce the fuel for a nuclear weapon, as well as other activities that limit Iran's atomic capabilities at various sites.
Trump in his speech a day earlier called the nuclear deal "an embarrassment" for the United States and Tillerson later confirmed that the agreement must be "revisited". And there is a reasonable argument for a stronger but calibrated approach to constraining Iranian expansionism - indeed, even former Obama administration officials have acknowledged that previous USA efforts have been insufficient. He accused Trump of using - and these are Rouhani's words - ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric. The defeat of that terrorist army is removing a point of tacit cooperation between the USA and Iran while sharpening the regional competition between them. She suggested that U.S. complaints about Iran's troublesome non-nuclear activities should be discussed in a different forum.
The 39-year-old centrist also floated the possibility of imposing sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile programme, adding talks on what is to happen after the limitations to the accord begin to be lifted in 2025 should be held "immediately", as should a discussion on the role of Iran in the region.
KELLY: OK, Ben Rhodes, that key point that Tillerson just raised about that this would only rein-in Iran's nuclear program until a certain date, and could the USA cut a better deal that would rein it in more permanently?
Following his threat in the General Assembly to "totally destroy" North Korea if forced to defend the USA or its allies, Trump will meet individually Thursday with the leaders of Japan and South Korea, and will also speak to them together. And that's why this deal focused explicitly on the nuclear program.
However, Tillerson said that Trump is "very, very seriously considering" the decision of whether the United States finds the agreement is in the best interests of the American people.
"I declare before you that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not be the first country to violate the agreement, but it will respond decisively and resolutely to its violation by any party", he told world leaders on the second day of the General Assembly's 72nd annual general debate.
President Donald Trump invited the question, and now the world must answer: If America insists on putting itself first, will anyone else follow?
The meeting followed an announcement from Trump that he had made a decision on whether the U.S. would re-certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear agreement. "It was a very, very matter of fact exchange about how we see this agreement very differently", he added. Trump must next certify by October 15 if Iran is complying with the deal, and officials have said Trump may use that occasion to declare Iran in violation. An intensified cold war - let alone a hot one -would be far more fraught for U.S. interests than Mr Trump likely expects. The deal was reached in July 2015 between Tehran and the six world powers of Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US.
Trump's only explicit mention of human rights was to condemn without naming names - the "governments with egregious human rights records" that sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council. "If it has flaws we can fix them", Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said.