Middle East connections
Michelle Nichols & Jeff Mason, Reuters–
The United States said on Wednesday it is weighing whether the Iranian nuclear deal serves its security interests even as Iran said it did not expect Washington to abandon the agreement.
A collapse of the 2015 deal, which U.S. President Donald Trump has called “an embarrassment” but which is supported by the other major powers that negotiated it with Iran, could trigger a regional arms race and worsen Middle East tensions.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed that his country would not be the first to violate the agreement under which Tehran agreed to restrict its nuclear program in return for the loosening of economic sanctions that had crippled its economy.
“We don’t think Trump will walk out of the deal despite (his) rhetoric and propaganda,” Rouhani told reporters on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly gathering of world leaders. He also ruled out the idea of renegotiating the pact.
Trump told reporters he had made a decision on what to do about the agreement but would not say what he had decided.
Matters were no clearer after Iran and the world powers that negotiated the deal – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – met for talks that a European source said included a long discussion between the U.S. and Iranian foreign ministers.
It was the first time that the two men, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, had met since Trump took office on Jan. 20.