USA to look at 'all of the threats posed by Iran'

Nick Mcbride
April 21, 2017

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson branded the Iran nuclear deal a failure Wednesday as President Donald Trump ordered a review of how Washington is countering the threat from Tehran.

Tillerson said the JCPOA "fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran" and was a product of "the same failed approach of the past that brought us to the current imminent threat we face from North Korea".

This week's reaffirmations of the status quo came via Tillerson's certification of Iran upholding its nuclear deal obligations and the administration delaying a decision on whether to withdraw from the Paris climate accord. He says that will be determined by an ongoing review.

In a formal notification required every 90 days to the US Congress-the first delivered since Trump's inauguration-Secretary of State Tillerson certified that, as of April 18, Iran was meeting its terms of the deal, which required it to cap its uranium enrichment, reduce its number of centrifuges by two-thirds and submit to global inspections to ensure compliance. As I indicated at the beginning, the Trump administration is now conducting a comprehensive review of our Iran policy.

Iran denies ever having considered developing atomic weapons although nuclear experts have warned that any US violation of the nuclear deal would allow Iran also to pull back from its commitments to curb nuclear development.

Tillerson noted Iran's continued support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and its long-standing hostility toward Israel, and said Tehran has "one of the world's worst human rights records".

Iran's nuclear ambitions are a grave risk to global peace and security.

"Iran's nuclear ambitions are a grave risk to global peace and security", he said.

While Tillerson acknowledged that Iran appears to be complying with the nuclear deal, he expressed a fear that its influence on other states in the Middle East was threatening peace in the region.

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.

The Trump administration has taken hard-line positions against both North Korea and Iran over their nuclear programs, though it's not yet clear whether this will lead to punitive measures.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, we are concerned that the government of Maduro is violating its own constitution and is not allowing the opposition to have their voices heard, nor allowing them to organize in a way that expresses the views of the Venezuelan people.

The country has said it aims to regain its pre-sanctions production level of some 4 million b/d, though oil minister Bijan Zanganeh has said Iran would be willing to hold its output at around 3.8 million b/d if an OPEC production cut agreement is extended through the second half of the year.

In the latest sign of U.S. -Iranian tensions, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, who was in Saudi Arabia on a tour of the Middle East, on Wednesday accused Iran of sending missiles to rebel Houthi fighters in Yemen.

Other reports by VgToday

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