US yet to decide on Iran nuclear deal – Mattis

WASHINGTON, No decision has been made on whether the US will withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Thursday. “The discussions are ongoing in the national security staff and (among) those of us who are charged with that responsibility of giving the President advice,” Mattis said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Defense Department budget. “And it’s going on today, as we speak,” he said, noting that there are obviously aspects of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran that can be improved upon.

“We’re working with our European allies on it at this time, and again, the decision has not been made whether we can repair it enough to stay in it, or if the President is going to decide to withdraw from it,” the Defense Secretary said.

Trump is required to recertify the agreement every 90 days or leave its fate to Congress. The next deadline is May 12.

Earlier in the day, Trump said that after his visit this week, French President Emmanuel Macron “is viewing, I believe, Iran a lot differently than he did before he walked into the Oval Office, and I think that’s important.” “He understands where I’m coming from with respect to Iran,” Trump said of Macron, who tried to convince Trump to not withdraw the US from the JCPOA. “Iran is a real problem for this country.” “The President made a horrible deal,” Trump said, apparently referring to former President Barack Obama. “When I say the president, I’m talking about (the) past administration made a horrible deal giving 150 billion dollars, giving 1.8 billion in cash — in actual cash carried out in barrels and in boxes from airplanes. It’s inconceivable — 1.8 billion,” Trump pointed out.

“And all they do is scream death to America, death to America,” he said of Iranians. “And by the way, they’re not screaming it so much anymore. They were screaming it with him (Obama). They don’t scream it with me.

“We haven’t seen their little boats circling our ships in the ocean lately, because they know if they do circle the ships they’re not going to be there very longer,” Trump added, apparently referring to the Arabian Gulf.

Source: Kuwait News Agency