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Washington to Review Iran Deal

21 April 2017

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused Iran on Wednesday (19 April) of "alarming ongoing provocations" to destabilise countries in the Middle East as the Trump administration launched a review of its policy towards Tehran.

The Trump administration could still annul the Iran nuclear deal despite certifying Tehran's compliance with the agreement, observers warned.

In an ominous warning, Tillerson linked Iran's behavior to North Korea's and said the United States would no longer engage in "strategic patience" with either country.

"Unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea and take the world along with it", he said.

Tillerson said that decision will be made as part of a review of Iran policy.

The agreement exchanged limits on Iran's nuclear program to thwart its ability to create a nuclear weapon with the lifting of crippling global economic and oil sanctions.

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The nuclear deal was sealed in Vienna in July 2015 after 18 months of negotiations led by former secretary of state John Kerry and diplomats from the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council-Britain, China, France and Russia-and Germany.

In their first meeting, the EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke "at length" about terrorism, Russia, the Iran nuclear deal and Ukraine, the European Union said in a statement.

The review will look at Tehran's compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal and its behaviour in the region which Tillerson said undermined U.S. interests in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon. Obama and others argued it was narrowly tailored to take the most unsafe prospect - a nuclear-armed Iran - off the table.

From NAFTA to the Iran nuclear agreement to the Paris climate accord, President Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric is colliding with the reality of governing.

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.

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Even if the US backs out of the agreement, new USA sanctions won't have much effect unless the other countries bring their sanctions back as well.

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

Tillerson said it made the mistake of "buying off a power that has nuclear ambitions" for a short time and then leaving the problem to future generations to resolve.

Trump faces a mid-May deadline, as imposed by Congress, to decide whether to continue the suspension of sanctions.

But Obama had said the deal would make the world safer and more secure.

Even the nuclear deal's proponents have acknowledged that it has limitations.

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He said of Iran, "I think they are doing a tremendous disservice to an agreement that was signed".

Washington to Review Iran Deal