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Tillerson Highlights Iran’s Regional Threat at NATO Meeting in Brussels

At the same time, on Wednesday, state media reported that Iran’s foreign ministry was denying the US accusations that Tehran is playing a destabilizing role in the region. Foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi was quoted as saying, “Repeating the groundless accusations and lies will not help solve the large and strategic mistakes America has made in recent decades against Iran and the region.” He added, “While there’s time remaining, Mr. Tillerson should become more familiar with the realities and history of the region and American policies, and its effects which has led to serious instability and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent women, children and people.”

On Tuesday, the first day of the Brussels meeting, Tillerson said that Iran is carrying out “destabilizing actions” by supporting “Hezbollah” in Lebanon, supplying missiles to Houthi insurgents in Yemen, and sending weapons and militia fighters to Syria.

Tillerson also said during his visit, that Iran must comply with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), under which it agreed to curbs on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of a number of sanctions. US President Trump refused to certify that Tehran was complying with the accord even though international inspectors said it was, last October, kicking the problem to Congress.

Tillerson also reassured his 28 EU counterparts that the US remains committed to a strong partnership. “The partnership between America and the European Union … is based upon shared values, shared objectives for security and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic and we remain committed to that,” he said at a meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

Tillerson, a former Exxon Mobil chief executive, has spent much of his time as secretary of state trying to smooth the “America First” foreign policy that has alarmed Trump’s allies, but the president has publicly undercut the secretary of state’s diplomatic initiatives.

His trip to Europe this week was partly overshadowed by reports the White House had a plan to replace him, which Tillerson denied on Wednesday.

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