Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Interview with John Dickerson of CBS's Face the Nation (Excerpts)

September 17, 2017

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile


QUESTION: Let me ask you about Iran. The President has till the 15th of October to notify Congress whether Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal arranged by the previous administration. You say they are not in compliance. The British foreign minister says they are. Are there any other people who are a part of that deal who believe that Iran is not in compliance with the nuclear deal?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, my view on the nuclear deal is they are in technical compliance of the nuclear arrangement. But if you go back and read the preamble to the JCPOA, the nuclear agreement, there clearly was an expectation between the parties, the negotiators from the Western parties as well as Iran, that by dealing with this nuclear threat we would lower the tension between Iran and the rest of the world and we would create conditions for Iran to rejoin the community of nations as a productive country that wants stability and wants peace and wants prosperity in the region. That’s why all these sanctions were lifted.

But since the nuclear deal has been concluded, what we have witnessed is Iran has stepped up its destabilizing activities in Yemen, it’s stepped up its destabilizing activities in Syria, it exports arms to Hizballah and other terrorist groups, and it continues to conduct a very active ballistic missile program. None of that, I believe, is consistent with that preamble commitment that was made by everyone.

QUESTION: Very quickly, though, they’re not a nuclear power. You’re dealing with North Korea. Why not do one thing at a time? Why take on – potentially take on Iran on that question? Why not leave that for another day? You’ve got a pretty serious thing with North Korea right in front of you.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, I think it’s important when you consider the Iranian relationship and how we view it, as I said – have said to others in Europe, consider our full breadth of our relationship. And this is what the President has said as well. Look, we have a lot of issues with Iran. They’re a yard, a yard long. The nuclear issue is only one foot of that yard. We have two feet of other issues that we must deal with, and it has to do with Iran’s destabilizing activities.