Tillerson declares the Iran nuclear deal a failure

While Iran has complied to date with its requirements under the nuclear deal, its support for terrorism has the US evaluating whether to continue lifting sanctions on its oil sector, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

Nevertheless, the letter to Ryan said Trump was ready to review the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in light of Iran's backing for terrorism.

Tehran's malign activities across the Middle East and elsewhere have prompted the Trump administration to place all aspects of the nuclear agreement under critical review, which is viewed by some as a first step to nixing some controversial aspects of the accord, including the massive sanctions relief package.

Over the past several weeks, the unhinged commander-in-chief has authorized bombings in two countries without any follow-up plan; he's provoked North Korea and brought the USA closer to a nuclear war; he's lost track of an American aircraft carrier.

Speaking to reporters at the State Department, Tillerson said the USA was ultimately at risk of going to nuclear war with the Middle East nation, should it decide to keep building more missiles, much like the Hermit Kingdom has been doing.

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 worldwide architecture of deals it has inherited.

Iran has defended its nuclear programme as purely civilian and its supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei warned in November that Tehran would retaliate if the United States breached the nuclear agreement.

Obama argued the deal was narrowly tailored to prevent what he said was the imminent emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran.

As a Republican candidate, Trump kept censuring Obama for taking part in negotiations with Tehran along with five other world powers, calling the outcome of the nuclear talks "one of the worst deals", the NY businessman has ever seen.

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 U.S. breached the agreement.

During his travel through the region over the past few days, Vice President Pence has both threatened overwhelming US military force if tested but also suggested that the USA would prefer a negotiated solution, albeit not via direct talks.

So, why didn't Trump rip up the deal like he promised?

Trump as a candidate vowed to discard or renegotiate the pact, and shortly after taking office his administration put Tehran "on notice" that what the USA regards as troublesome behavior would no longer be tolerated.

"I think they felt he needed to come out and make this statement because (Tillerson) was forced by congressional reporting to admit Iran was in compliance" with the deal, Kirby said.

The other countries that were part of the deal - Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, along with the European Union - remain supportive of the pact and would likely object to any re-imposition of American sanctions. "It fails to achieve objective of a non-nuclear Iran".

"I'm glad this deal has held up to this point, and I hope it continues to hold up", said Wendy Sherman, a former undersecretary of state who was deeply involved in negotiating terms of the deal during the Obama administration.

With Iran getting most of its benefits upfront, even critics of the agreement have said the United States gains little by breaking the deal now.

  • Carolyn Briggs