April 26, 2018 / 3:12 PM / in 6 months

Mattis plays down link between Iran nuclear deal and North Korea talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis played down concerns on Thursday about whether a potential U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal would undermine attempts to strike an agreement with North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons programme.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the “Defense Department budget posture in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2019 and the Future Years Defense Program” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

“Some people point out that this could impact on the North Korea negotiations. But I would say in that case, in light of Kim’s family and himself breaking every international treaty, every agreement they’ve ever made ... I’m less concerned with that ripple effect right now,” Mattis told a Senate hearing. He was referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“I think we need to focus on what is in the best interest of Middle East stability and the threat that Iran poses.”

Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; Editing by Frances Kerry

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