Once critical of global deals, Trump slow to pull out of any

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has termed the Iran nuclear deal a failure and said an "unchecked" Tehran could become another North Korea, but stopped short of threatening to derail the landmark agreement. He also said that the Trump administration launched a review of its policy toward Tehran.

"Public statements lambasting the nuclear deal with Iran as a "failed approach" and comparing the country with North Korea are reckless and blatantly false".

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

The review will look at Tehran's compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal and its behaviour in the region which Tillerson said undermined United States interests in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon. But neither Iran nor the other world powers that negotiated the agreement have any interest in re-opening the deal, and USA companies stand to lose billions if the deal is scuttled.

"Trump has directed a National Security Council-led interagency review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that will evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the JCPOA is vital to the national security interests of the United States".

"Any discussion of Iran is incomplete without mentioning the JCPOA".

"A comprehensive Iran policy requires we address all of the threats posed by Iran and it is clear there are many", he added.

On the one hand, Trump wants to show he's being tougher than Obama toward Iran, but on the other hand, he's not yet ready to rip up the deal.

The secretary of state earlier acknowledged the Iranians had met the terms of the 2015 deal, but raised concerns about the country as a "state sponsor of terrorism".

If the administration were to decide to walk away or otherwise renege on its commitments, it would open the door for Iran to cast aside its own promises and resume the unfettered development of its nuclear program.

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

During his presidential campaign, Trump called the agreement "the worst deal ever negotiated".

Still, since taking office, Trump has stopped promising he'll gut the agreement.

The six powers that negotiated the nuclear deal with the involvement from the European Union have set aside Iran's alleged support to terrorism in order to get a deal guaranteeing that the country would not be able to build a nuclear weapon for a decade and would remain under the eye of United Nations weapons inspectors.

Ahmad Majidyar, director of the Iran Observed Project at the Middle East Institute, said that "with a nuclear deterrent, Iran would most likely increase its support for groups in the region, which would definitely not improve regional or global security". White House press secretary described the attention as a sign that Trump believes there are problems with the deal.

  • Leroy Wright