While it’s become increasingly common for administration officials to publicly contradict each other on policy positions, creating a lot of confusion about where the US actually stands, it’s all but unheard of for a top official to directly and publicly disagree with the president.
That’s what is happening today with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, however, who admitted that he disagrees with President Trump on the question of the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, and that the two have often come to different conclusions on how to use the deal.
Tillerson said that the US has the option to “tear it up and walk away,” or try to just hold Iran accountable to the terms. President Trump has been very public since the campaign about wanting to tear up the deal, and recent reports have suggested it was only pressure from Tillerson and Mattis that kept Trump admitting Iran had complied with the deal earlier this month.
At the same time, Trump has said since then that he expects to declare Iran non-compliant by the time the next deadline comes around, and wishes he’d been able to do so this time. Other officials have suggested the US is trying to coax Iran into taking some action they could use as a pretext for withdrawing from the deal, though it’s clear this is going to have diplomatic ramifications internationally.
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