Rex Tillerson accuses Iran of 'alarming provocations'

Bruno Cirelli
Aprile 21, 2017

The Trump administration has notified Congress that Iran is complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama, and says the usa has extended the sanctions relief given to the Islamic republic in exchange for curbs on its atomic program.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement that Iran remained compliant with its commitments under the deal, but there were concerns about its role as a state sponsor of terrorism.

However, in a letter sent late Tuesday to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the agreement would now undergo a full review to see if it 'is vital to the national security interests of the United States'. He said those attempting to undermine or destroy the JCPA will not succeed, adding that those countries involved in the agreement should follow through - perhaps a statement directed at the United States and Trump, who said the deal is one of the worst in history.

The development of the U.S. reviewing the sanctions relief for Iran comes as Washington said Iran remains a "leading sponsor" of terrorism.

Tuesday's determination suggested that while Trump agreed with findings by the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, that Iran is keeping to its end of the bargain, he is looking for another way to ratchet up pressure on Tehran.

The pivotal deal between Iran and six major powers restricts Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of global oil and financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

The certification of Iran's compliance with the terms of the deal must be issued to Congress every 90 days. Earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi warned US Defense Secretary James Mattis against making "unwarranted and malicious accusations against Iran", according to Iranian media.

The next test of Trump's attitude towards the nuclear deal will be in May when he must decide whether to extend sanctions waivers for Iran first signed by Obama.

The two issues are not linked under the deal - and if the USA were to reinstate sanctions over Iran's alleged ties to terrorism, the United States would be in violation of the deal.

The White House, however, has ordered a full review of the agreement. That could mean "incredibly strict implementation" of the nuclear deal, such as holding them accountable for even minor breaches for the agreement.

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