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Banks and Iran: Tillerson’s firing muddies the waters even more for investment

Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, the latest sign of his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, an international agreement that has allowed the country’s banks partial re-entry into global finance after years of sanction-fuelled isolation.

At his first press conference on Tuesday since confirming the dismissal of Rex Tillerson on Twitter, Donald Trump said of the former State Secretary: “We disagreed on things. When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible, I guess he thought it was OK.”

Trump has repeatedly expressed his opposition to the deal — signed by the Obama administration in 2015 — throughout his presidential campaign and since the start of his mandate.

He has called the agreement, which lifted a number of international sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on the country’s nuclear programme, “one of the worst deals ever made by any country in history”.

Tillerson has said the deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was “flawed” and had “weaknesses in it”, but declared that he was in favour of its continued implementation.

“We’re going to stay in,” he told CNN in October.

The dismissal of Tillerson puts further pressure on JCPOA, following a fiery speech delivered in London on February 22 by Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araghchi, in which he declared that his country was also considering withdrawing from the deal.

Arguing that the deal had not delivered the banking and business benefits Iran anticipated, Araghchi said: “If the same policy of confusion and uncertainties about the JCPOA continues, if companies and banks are not working with Iran, we cannot remain in a deal that has no benefit for us.

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