Tillerson Announces Trump Review of Iran Nuclear Deal

The Trump administration has ordered an inter-agency review of whether the suspension of sanctions on Iran under a landmark nuclear deal in 2015 was in the US' national security interests, the secretary of state has said.

Tillerson said the National Security Council-led interagency review of the agreement will evaluate whether it "is vital to the national security interests of the United States".

The Trump administration, however, has "no intention of passing the buck to a future administration".

Iran has defended its nuclear programme as purely civilian.

Former President Barack Obama would have agreed with all the charges: that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism, that it supports proxies which undermine USA interests in the region, that it's hostile to Israel and that its ballistic missile tests challenge UN Security Council prohibitions.

There is little room to interpret this statement as anything less than a proclamation of the Trump administration's intent to scrap the nuclear deal and reset the United States on a path to war.

Last month, Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about the Iran nuclear deal in a phone call.

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 worldwide security". The Trump administration has repeatedly said that it is hoping that China will do for Mr. Trump what it has failed to do for past presidents - force concessions from Pyongyang.

Should the U.S. break the terms of the agreement, it would upset the other partners of the deal, which was signed in July 2015 - and Iran could consider the move a green light to restart its nuclear activity. "Buying off a power for a short period of time" is not a prudent way to deal with Iran.

"We have not seen any improvement in Iran's behavior since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), addressing Iran's nuclear program, was finalized in July 2015", Votel said. Congress has already passed bills extending sanctions against Iran, while the US Treasury has announced further sanctions against those closely linked to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its clandestine network of global operatives.

Wednesday at the State Department, the secretary spent the majority of his remarks discussing the threat posed by Iran.

As the White House finalizes that review, USA officials will offer competing visions for how to deal with the country, and American allies in the Middle East will seek to tilt Washington's preferences in their favor.

  • Leroy Wright