Tillerson says 2015 nuclear deal is merely "buying off" Iran temporarily

Rex Tillerson, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil, testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing to become U.S. Secretary of State on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 11, 2017.

Reuters

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday said the Iran deal “fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran” and only delays that country’s threat, noting President Donald Trump’s administration is conducting a comprehensive strategy review of its approach to that Middle Eastern country. 

“It is another example of buying off a power who has nuclear ambitions,” Tillerson said of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Action Plan to restrict Iran’s nuclear power. “We buy them off for a short period of time, and then someone has to deal with it later.”

Tillerson said Mr. Trump’s administration has, “no intention of passing the buck to a future administration.” Tillerson’s comments come after he announced an inter-agency review of whether the suspension of Iran sanctions under the 2015 agreement is in the interest of American national security. 

Tillerson expressed fears that Iran could develop into a threat similar to North Korea. North Korea attempted a missile launch that failed last week. 

“An unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea, and take the world along with it,” Tillerson said.

Tillerson told Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in a letter late Tuesday that Iran is complying with the Obama-era agreement to freeze its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief but warned that, “Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror through many methods and platforms.” Tillerson said the administration “looks forward” to working with Congress once the review of Iran sanctions is complete.