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Tillerson says progress made on strengthening Iranian nuclear deal

23 January, 2018, 01:36 | Author: Priscilla Morrison

The main objective of Rex Tillerson's visit to Warsaw is to strengthen the strategic partnership with Poland, a high-ranking representative of the US Department of State has said.

Tillerson is seeking British and French support for tough new penalties against Iran that could prevent a US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

The Foreign Secretary's comments come after Tillerson said he hopes to visit the controversial new U.S. embassy when he visits London this week. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in response that the deal could not be renegotiated. But Trump's budget director says the White House is taking the president's participation at that meeting, as well as the planned attendance of much of his Cabinet in Davos, "on a day-by day basis" because of the government shutdown.

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.

Their meeting takes place amid reports that the president is unhappy after the Prime Minister publicly criticised him past year for retweeting inflammatory videos posted by the far-right Britain First group. Asked about an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, he said: "At some point we're going to do it, but there's no urgency to do that". Following his meeting with Boris Johnson, he told reporters that the "special relationship" between the USA and United Kingdom would endure.

Trump has demanded changes be made to the nuclear deal and has threatened to withdraw US support, although earlier this month agreed again to waive nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.

Just before the secretary of state arrived, the USA ambassador told reporters: "The embassy actually is going to really work".

"We spend a lot of time talking about the world's problems. and sometimes we forget about the importance of our own relationship", Tillerson said as he met Johnson.

In Europe, Iran is expected to dominate Tillerson's talks in Britain and France, the first two stops, before he heads to Switzerland and Poland. We treasure this relationship. "We'll do it when the time is right".

The US and the United Kingdom need to "pay attention" to their "treasured" relationship, the US secretary of state said as he visited London.

Mr Tillerson also met UK Prime Minister Theresa May, and the Iran nuclear deal - which has been heavily criticised by Mr Trump - was on the agenda.

'They discussed the continuing depth and breadth of the special relationship.

"We also view this as a special relationship".

"They agreed on the importance of the global community coming together to counter Iran's destabilising regional activity, and the Prime Minister reiterated the UK's commitment to the Iran nuclear deal", the prime minister's spokesperson said, as quoted by the Independent newspaper.


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