US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have opposite views on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal signed to control Tehran's missile programme, the latter revealed on Tuesday (1 August).
While Trump wanted the deal to be scrapped, Tillerson insisted on continuing with it and using it to advance administration policies and improve relations between the two nations.
The agreement was signed between Iran and the US, Russia, China and three European powers during Barack Obama's presidential tenure. Trump had initially stated while campaigning for the 2016 presidential elections that he would pull out of the deal if he came to power. However, he later admitted that he was advised against the move by Tillerson and thus, reluctantly had to continue with the deal.
On Tuesday, during a State Department briefing, Tillerson revealed that he and the president were currently discussing how they can use the existing deal.
"He and I have differences of views on things like JCPOA, and how we should use it," Tillerson said using the acronym for the deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), according to Reuters.
"There are a lot of alternative means with which we use the agreement to advance our policies and the relationship with Iran, and that's what the conversation generally is around with the president as well," he added.
He insisted that they have the option to walk out of the deal, but a better way would be to stay and hold Iran accountable, which would require the Middle East nation to act as a "good neighbour".
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tillerson's revelation, Reuters wrote.
Meanwhile, Iran has strongly objected to the new sanctions imposed by the US last week, claiming that the move is a violation of the nuclear pact. The sanctions were announced a day after the country tested a satellite rocket launcher.
Tillerson, however, said that it was important to coordinate with other western powers to put pressure on Iran and deter it from pursuing a nuclear programme. "The greatest pressure we can put to bear on Iran to change the behavior is a collective pressure," he said.
Iran had insisted the rocket launch was part of its space programme aimed at peaceful missions, but the US condemned it and called it "provocative action". The US also accuses Iran of aiding terror groups spread across the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria.