Iran officials give contradicting statements on nuclear deal, Pompeo’s appointment

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By Middle East Affairs

After a foreign ministry spokesman downplayed the recent appointment of a new secretary of state in the United States and its possible effects on the international nuclear deal, Iran’s deputy foreign minister said otherwise.

United States President Donald Trump sacked Rex Tillerson onTuesday as secretary of state for reasons related to the nuclear deal made with Iran in 2015. Tillerson was a supporter of the deal, which was signed under the Obama administration, while Trump has called it deeply “flawed” and has threatened to pull out.

The new appointment, Mike Pompeo, has a reputation for taking a hardliner stance against the nuclear deal and remains suspicious of Iran.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi tried to downplay the appointment by saying it was merely an internal U.S. matter, especially as Trump plays musical chairs with his staff.

President Hassan Rouhani has also commented in the past that Iran would stick to the deal even if the United States drops out.

Other countries involved in the agreement are Germany, China, Britain, France and Russia.

However, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said otherwise in comments made to state new agency ISNA.

“The United States is determined to leave the nuclear deal, and changes at the State Department were made with that goal in mind — or at least it was one of the reasons,” he said.

“If the US quits the nuclear deal, we will also quit it,” Araghchi said Wednesday. “We have told the Europeans that if they can’t keep the US in the deal, Iran will also leave it.”

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