Top US general: Exiting Iran nuclear pact would make future deals tough

Gen. Joseph Dunford listens on Capitol Hill in Washington. Associated Press  Jacquelyn Martin

Dunford told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Iran was complying with its obligations under the nuclear deal, but had increased its activity in other areas.

The top USA uniformed military officer said Monday that he has told the White House that he does not think transgender service members should be discharged from the force due to their gender identity alone, provided they are medically stable.

Dunford told the committee, "I would say that I believe any individual who meets the physical and mental standards and is worldwide deployable and is now serving should be afforded the opportunity to serve".

"When asked by Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) whether he can promise that now serving transgender troops will not be separated based exclusively on their gender identity, Dunford said that's been his advice as the Pentagon reviews its transgender policy".

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"These men and women across all services and occupations were told by the Department of Defense that they would be allowed to serve openly and continue in their military careers", Gillibrand said.

About the Iran nuclear pact, Dunford said exiting the deal would make future deals tough.

But Dunford made clear to the senators that his advice to Secretary of Defense James Mattis was to retain any servicemember who can hold their own in the ranks.

Speaking in the Rose Garden at the White House on Tuesday, after meeting with Spanish President Mariano Rajoy, President Trump said Spain had expelled its North Korean ambassador in a move towards isolating Pyongyang, and "it's time for all responsible nations to isolate the North Korean menace." . "What I have just articulated is the advice I have provided in private and I just provided in public".

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Dunford was first nominated to be chairman by former President Obama in 2015.

In the face of multiple civil rights lawsuits, Trump administration officials are drawing up plans to block recruitment of any military personnel who identify as transgender, while working on plans to "purge" existing soldiers from next year.

A bipartisan group of senators, including Gillibrand and Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., have introduced legislation that would protect transgender servicemembers from being removed from the military.

The memo prohibits the military from enlisting transgender people and from using funds to pay for gender transition-related surgery.

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The White House's new US special envoy for efforts to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Kurt Volker, also has advocated providing lethal aid to Ukraine, saying in an interview in July with RFE/RL it is needed to counter Russia's "large, large military presence" in eastern Ukraine. "I will fix the mess", said Trump.

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