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Tillerson sees progress in fixing Iran deal with Europeans

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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he sees progress in getting European support for tough new penalties against Iran
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he sees progress in getting European support for tough new penalties against Iran
LONDON (AP) Jan. 22, 2018 — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday that he sees progress in getting European support for tough new penalties against Iran that could prevent a U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
After meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May, national security adviser Mark Sedwill and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Tillerson said they had agreed to set up a working group of experts on fixing flaws in the landmark 2015 agreement that President Donald Trump has warned he will walk away from this spring unless fixes are made to his liking.
“I think there’s a common view among the E3 that there are some areas of the (nuclear deal) or some areas of Iran’s behavior that should be addressed,” Tillerson told reporters after talks with Johnson. The E3 are Britain, France and Germany, which are all parties to the deal.
Tillerson specifically highlighted concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile program, which is not covered by the nuclear deal, and provisions in the agreement that allow Iran to gradually resume advanced atomic work.
The working group will begin to meet as early as next week to discuss how to address the flaws “through some type of another side agreement perhaps or a mechanism that would address our concerns,” Tillerson said.
Johnson said that Britain was committed to doing what it could with its partners “collectively to constrain that activity and to make a big difference there. We think we can do that; we think we can do that together.”
But, he stressed, “it is important that we do that in parallel and don’t vitiate the fundamentals of the Iran nuclear deal.”
Tillerson will be carrying a similar message to Paris, his next stop in Europe on Tuesday.
The nuclear deal gave Iran billions in sanctions relief in return for curbs on its atomic program.

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