Tillerson accuses Iran of 'alarming provocations' as United States reviews policy

Reuters

Reuters

"Unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea and take the world along with it", he said.

"The Trump administration is now conducting across the entire government a review of our Iran policy", Tillerson said.

In a letter to Congress, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Iran is meeting the terms of the 2015 deal worked out with the Obama administration and five other countries. This week's reaffirmations of the status quo came via Tillerson's certification of Iran upholding its nuclear deal obligations and the administration delaying a decision on whether to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

He said the deal, brokered by former President Barack Obama's administration along with other world powers, represented the "same failed approach" the US has taken to North Korea. A day after certifying Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attacked the accord and listed examples of Iran's bad behavior.

Under U.S. President Donald Trump, the United States has assumed an openly confrontational stance toward Iran.

"This deal represents the same failed approach of the past that brought us to the current imminent threat we face from North Korea", Tillerson said of the nuclear deal.

The nuclear deal was reached in Vienna in July 2015 between Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

Wednesday at the State Department, the secretary spent the majority of his remarks discussing the threat posed by Iran. "The question of ongoing sanctions relief will be critical-Iran has already gotten significant economic benefits from the nuclear deal and we need to take a hard look at what Iran is doing with the resources that continue to flow in".

But neither Iran nor the other world powers that negotiated the agreement have any interest in reopening the deal, and USA companies stand to lose billions if the deal is scuttled. He had said in January 2016, after the deal was implemented, that "Iran will not get its hands on a nuclear bomb". That could mean Trump is looking for other ways to pressure Iran. "So we'll see what happens". However, the terms of the nuclear deal give the administration leeway in terms of enforcement, Foreign Policy reported Monday: "The Trump White House is mulling taking a much more forceful stance on enforcing the deal to the letter".

Yet with one exception - an Asia-Pacific trade deal that already had stalled in Congress - Trump's administration quietly has laid the groundwork to honor the global architecture of deals it has inherited. "If he didn't, if he thought everything was fine he would've allowed this to move forward".

"That is why we have to look at Iran in a very comprehensive way in terms of the threat it poses in all areas of the region and the world", he added.

And last week, CIA Director Mike Pompeo told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that "we're actively engaged in a lot of work to assist the President in making sure he has an understanding on where the Iranians are compliant and whether they might not be".

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