US State Department: Trump’s reading of Iran nuclear agreement is absurd

The US State Department says Donald Trump’s reading of the Iran nuclear agreement is absurd, after the Republican presidential candidate said the accord forces Washington to defend Iran against Israel.

On Thursday, Trump said that “there’s something in the Iran deal that people I don’t think really understand or know about, and nobody’s able to explain it, that if somebody attacks Iran, we have to come to their defense.”

“So, if Israel attacks Iran according to that deal, I believe, the way it reads unless they have a codicil or they have something to it, that we have to fight with Iran against Israel,” he continued.

State Department acting spokeswoman Marie Harf told CNN that the language is routine for nuclear agreements and “it is absurd to suggest it [commits] anyone to ‘defend’ Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

Trump was apparently referencing Section 10 of Annex III of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), concluded between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries – the US, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany –in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on July 14.

The section says that Western nations, which are party to the agreement, will work with Iran on areas including: “Cooperation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage, as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems.”

“This provision of the JCPOA is designed to help bring Iran’s nuclear security and safety practices in line with those used by other nuclear programs around the world,” Harf said.

“The IAEA provides this kind of training routinely, as it is in the interest of all countries that nuclear material be safeguarded from theft and terrorist attacks — the types of ‘sabotage’ in question,” she stated.

“This would be the focus of any such assistance by the P5+1 or other states. Nevertheless, this provision does not commit any country to engage in this kind of routine nuclear security cooperation, and it is absurd to suggest it [commits] anyone to ‘defend’ Iran’s nuclear facilities,” Harf added.

Republicans, who control both houses of Congress, almost unanimously oppose the agreement because they say it gives too many concessions to Iran and threatens the security of Israel, a major US ally in the Middle East.

Congress is reviewing the nuclear agreement and has until September 17 to vote to either approve or disapprove of it.

Analysts say Republican presidential candidates are opposing the nuclear agreement to avoid angering the pro-Israel lobby and preventing their Democratic rivals from getting any political advantage by resolving the Iranian nuclear issue.

By Press TV