Mattis surprises Iran, explains Trump’s instructions on North Korea

Several days after US President Donald Trump dismissed State Secretary Rex Tillerson’s diplomatic efforts with North Korea, Defense Secretary James Mattis explained his side of the story and discussed the Iran Nuclear Deal.
Mattis Photo credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

Today (Tuesday), US Defense Secretary James Mattis came to the defense of State Secretary Rex Tillerson following his attempts to find a diplomatic solution to the North Korean crisis.

Mattis responded to US President Donald Trump’s tweets earlier this week in which he dismissed a diplomatic solution with North Korea: “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man. Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!”

According to Mattis, Trump instructed him and Tillerson to continue to try to reduce the tension through diplomatic channels: “President Trump’s guidance to both Secretary Tillerson and me has been very clearly that we would...pursue the diplomatic effort to include with the various initiatives with China.”

During the Senate hearing, Mattis also referred to the tensions with Iran regarding the Nuclear Deal and stated that it is actually in the US’s interest to stay in the agreement. “The point I would make is that if we can confirm that Iran is living by the agreement, if we can determine that this is in our best interests, then clearly we should stay with it," Mattis added. “I believe at this point in time, absent indications to the contrary, it is something the president should consider staying with.”



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