Tillerson accuses Iran of 'alarming provocations' as USA reviews policy

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Wednesday of the danger Iran poses to the Middle East and the world and said the worldwide nuclear deal with Tehran ultimately would not achieve its goal of curtailing Iran's nuclear ambitions. Don't miss Andrea Mitchell fretting that if the USA backs out of the Iran deal, rogue states like North Korea won't trust us.

"The Trump administration has no intention of passing the buck to a future administration on Iran", he said. As long as Iran refuses to allow the IAEA unfettered access to all military sites, it is not in compliance with the JCPOA and the worldwide community can not be confident that Iran's nuclear weapons program has been halted. "The Trump administration is now conducting a comprehensive review of our Iran policy".

The nuclear agreement, negotiated during Barack Obama's presidency, placed limitations on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions against Iran.

Hours before he declared Iran nuclear deal a failure, Tillerson sent a terse letter to the US House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan, saying the administration has ordered an inter-agency review of whether the earlier suspension of sanctions, which was a necessity under the 2015 nuclear deal, was in the US' national security interests.

Trump, during his presidential campaign, had pledged to renegotiate or dismantle the Iran nuclear deal.

Iran has yet to comment on the Trump Administration's review, but Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei warned in November that Tehran would retaliate if the United States breached the nuclear agreement.

As with North Korea, Tillerson said, the Trump administration is unwilling to be patient with Iran, ticking through a list of countries where he said Iran supports terrorism and violence.

The evidence is clear: Iran's provocative actions threaten the United States, the region and the world.

"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.

Critics, though, say it fails to achieve even that, because key restrictions on Iran's nuclear development program are phased out after a decade or more.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday promised that the United States would review all actions taken by Iran on account of its "alarming ongoing provocations" aimed at destabilizing the Middle East and US interests there.

In addition to the US, five other countries and the European Union agreed to lift sanctions against Iran in exchange for it's assurance it won't try to make or acquire a nuclear weapon.

And the JCPOA gives Iran a reason not to try to make a nuclear weapon. I discussed the future of the Iran deal under Trump in this post.

In the Middle East, Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday told reporters who asked about Iran's role in Yemen and elsewhere that, "Everywhere you look, if there's trouble in the region, you find Iran".

  • Zachary Reyes