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Scrapping Nuclear Deal May Embolden Iran's Hardliners

22 April 2017

"Worn-out United States accusations can't mask its admission of Iran's compliance" with the nuclear agreement, which is forcing the USA administration "to change course and fulfill its own commitments", Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Javad Zarif yesterday said on his Twitter account.

"It just doesn't make sense, unless it is specifically designed to provoke and to create conflict between Iran and U.S. administration".

The entire press conference was literally held for the sole objective of reiterating that Tehran is a troublemaker in the Middle East, America's principal adversary in the region, a meddler in Arab affairs, a sponsor of worldwide terrorism, with contempt for the Security Council by carrying out ballistic missile tests, and a human rights abuser. In February, the Trump administration warned Iran that it had been "put on notice" and imposed sanctions on several entities connected to the Islamic Republic's ballistic missile program.

The deal, he said at a State Department press availability, "only delays their goal of becoming a nuclear state". Iranian-backed militias have played a major role in fighting the Islamic State both in Syria and Iraq.

Trump's remarks come just a day after Trump's secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, affirmed in a letter to Congress that Iran was in compliance with the deal.

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Iran has said that the 40-megawatt, heavy-water plant is aimed at producing isotopes for cancer and other medical treatments, and has denied that any of its nuclear activity is geared to developing weapons.

In his tweet, Mr. Zarif also addressed Mr. Tillerson's terrorism charge: "Worn-out USA accusations can't mask its admission of Iran's compliance w/ JCPOA".

Iran has yet to comment on the White House's review, but Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned last November that Teheran will retaliate if the USA breached the deal.

The top American diplomat sought to reinforce the notion that the aggressively countering Iran's destabilizing behavior throughout the Middle East, even though President Donald Trump so far has not pulled out of the deal.

But to critics, it is a sign that a presidential candidate who promised to rip up the nuclear pact with Iran is discovering that walking away from multilateral agreements is much more hard once in office.

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The administration says it is reviewing these accords and could still pull out of them.

Sanam Vakil, associate fellow at Britain's Chatham House think tank, agreed, saying that "by keeping the pressure on in this way, it will keep Iran on the back foot", she said.

Trump has followed through with a pledge to pull the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a sweeping free trade deal President Barack Obama negotiated. "The problem with this deal is it's very open to interpretation". Obama and others argued it was narrowly tailored to take the most unsafe prospect - a nuclear-armed Iran - off the table.

Trump also says he is optimistic that a funding deal will be reached to keep the federal government open ahead of next week's deadline.

"Rhetoric should not be dismissed", he said. Without Iran's involvement, the civil war would have ended long ago.

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During his presidential campaign, Trump called the agreement "the worst deal ever" and vowed to review it once in office.

Scrapping Nuclear Deal May Embolden Iran's Hardliners