Tillerson's firing could hasten Iran deal demise

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The nomination of Mike Pompeo to be the next secretary of state signals President Donald Trump's determination to quit the landmark Iran nuclear deal, which could cause it to unravel, according to national security and arms-control experts. "What is important for the Islamic Republic is America's policy in global affairs and their interaction with us and we will adopt our own positions".

Senior diplomats from Iran and six major powers gathered in Vienna on Friday to discuss the status of their 2015 nuclear deal in a meeting overshadowed by US threats to leave the pact.

During President Barack Obama's term, Iranian officials had been vocal about their disappointment with the US government's lack of diplomatic assurance to global partners about the longevity and permanence of the nuclear deal.

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The deal that was negotiated by the Obama administration and six other countries limits Iran's enrichment and stockpiling of material that could be applied to a nuclear weapons program. US sanctions will resume unless Trump issues fresh "waivers" to suspend them on May 12. Referring to Iran as "the number one terrorist state", Trump said the Middle Eastern country supplies money and weapons to terrorist groups. "This country is not very dependable". The US sanctions will resume unless Trump issues new "waivers" to delay them on May 12. "And it doesn't feel to me that they are", he said, cautioning that the situation could change as the deadline itself - May 12 - nears.

Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Sunday he expected President Donald Trump to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement in May.

Araqchi said he discussed the "violations" of the nuclear deal with EU, Russia, Germany and France on the eve of the joint committee meeting, adding that he would hold bilateral negotiations with other delegations, without specifying if he had the intentions to meet the United States delegation on the sidelines of the negotiations. He had urged the president to stay in the agreement to keep leverage over Iran's ballistic missile testing and other actions not covered under the agreement. In late January, Moscow warned that Washington "blackmails" European nations into changing or amending the deal with threats to withdraw from the agreement and demands that the deals "flaws" to be fixed.

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Reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have consistently shown Iran adhering to the deal in the two years since it took effect.

The differences are even more stark on the sunset provisions, which are codified in the nuclear deal and which the Europeans and Iran regard as inviolable, according to the diplomats.

Senior Iranian officials have repeatedly said their missile programme is not up for negotiation.

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Some analysts believe that Pompeo may moderate some of his criticisms of the nuclear deal if he becomes secretary of state and slips into the role.