Sep 21, 2017

Tillerson: Trump declined to tell world leaders his Iran deal decision

Tillerson at the press briefing. Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

Having just emerged from what he called an "open and candid exchange" with the parties to the Iran nuclear deal, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said President Trump had made up his mind about whether to walk away from the deal, but wouldn't tell the public or other world leaders yet. Taking questions from reporters, he repeatedly emphasized the "significant issues" Trump has with the pact.

"I think it's pretty difficult to say that the expectations of the parties who negotiated this agreement have been met. Perhaps the technical aspects have but in the broader context the aspiration has not."

  • One eyebrow-raising quote: "Prime Minister May [of the U.K.] asked him if he would share [his decision] with her and he said no."
  • On Trump's pronouncement that he's made up his mind: "I didn't know he was going to say today he made a decision. I knew he had."
  • Iran's violations of the "expectations" of the deal: "Since the agreement has been confirmed we have seen anything but a more peaceful, stable region." Tillerson cited Iran's cyber activity, missile tests and support for Bashar al-Assad.
  • On the current U.S. stance: "We expect Iran to fill its commitments, until that time we'll consider our commitments and the president has the matter under consideration."
  • On whether backing out of Iran would undermine attempts at a North Korea deal: "An agreement we would strike with North Korea would be of a very different nature."

The European stance: European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said after the meeting that all parties agreed Iran is living up to the agreement, and that she didn't see any need for renegotiation.

Go deeper

Trump indulges Wall Street with Milken pardon

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Donald Trump loves Wall Street shenanigans. Companies owned by him have declared bankruptcy six different times, and he was once sued alongside Mike Milken for participating in a scheme to artificially inflate junk-bond prices.

Driving the news: Trump pardoned Milken this week, with an official statement positively gushing over Milken's role in developing the wilder side of fixed-income capital markets.

Situational awareness

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Roger Stone sentenced to 40 months in prison
  2. Top NSC official reassigned to Energy Department amid "Anonymous" fallout
  3. Morgan Stanley to buy E*Trade in $13 billion deal
  4. Coronavirus slams companies' 2020 sales projections
  5. Black activist group gives its first presidential endorsement to Elizabeth Warren

Roger Stone sentenced to more than 3 years in prison

Roger Stone arriving for his sentencing hearing. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Longtime Trump associate Roger Stone was sentenced Thursday to 4o months in prison for crimes that include obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering.

Why it matters: Stone is the seventh person to be convicted and sentenced for crimes unearthed by former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. His case has been at the heart of ongoing tensions between President Trump and his Justice Department.