The United States should stay in the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday, despite heavy criticisms of the deal from President Donald Trump.
“If we can confirm that Iran is living by the agreement, if we can determine that this is in our best interest than clearly we should stay with it,” Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I believe at this point in time, absent indications to the contrary, it is something the president should consider staying with.”
The U.S. State Department is due to certify to Congress in two weeks time whether Iran has been complying with the terms of the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actio. Trump has said he has made up his mind already, but has not told European leaders his decision, including Britain’s Theresa May, who asked him reportedly at a bilateral meeting at the U.N. last month.
Trump has been a stern critic of what his predecessor, Barack Obama, saw as a signature foreign policy achievement.
Dubbing it a “bad deal,” Trump pledged during his campaign for the White House last year to rip up the agreement. And in New York in a speech last month at the United Nations, he described the deal as an “embarrassment,” saying it was “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”