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20 April 2017, 06:40 | Kelvin Horton
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared the Iran nuclear deal a failure on Wednesday but left open the possibility the Trump administration will uphold it nonetheless.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attacked a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, saying it only delayed the country's ambition to gain weapons of mass destruction and didn't take into account its role in sponsoring terrorism and destabilising other countries n the Middle East.
He said the deal, brokered by former President Barack Obama's administration along with other world powers, represented the "same failed approach" the USA has taken to North Korea.
While Iran considers the introduction or renewal of any sanctions to be a violation of the nuclear deal, members of both parties in the US support imposing them for non-nuclear-related reasons, such as human rights violations and financing of terror.
Both Iran and Hezbollah are now fighting in support of Syrian President Bashar al Assad's forces.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday the United States should meet its own obligations agreed in a landmark nuclear deal in 2015 rather than making accusations against the Islamic Republic. One of his signature lines at campaign rallies was "rip it up" - as a candidate Trump boasted he would trash the agreement, then renegotiate a much better document.
Should the United States 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.
In his comments Wednesday, Tillerson criticized Iran for its hostility toward Israel, its sponsorship of Houthi rebels in Yemen and its backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It is nothing less than unnerving for the Secretary of State to ignore the advice of almost all security experts, foreign and domestic, on the efficacy of the nuclear deal.
"That is why we have to look at Iran in a very comprehensive way in terms of the threat it poses in all areas of the region and the world", he added.
Like the diplomats, Kirby said the administration may be looking for political cover.
"The deal was limited by design", said John Kirby, an Obama State Department spokesman and CNN military and diplomatic analyst.
But Majidyar argued that scrapping the deal wouldn't help Washington. But neither Iran nor the other world powers that negotiated the agreement have any interest in reopening the deal, and USA companies stand to lose billions if the deal is scuttled.
Those parties have been talking for some time to the United Nations watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency about clarifying various aspects of the deal that were ambiguous to ensure stricter implementation, the first diplomat said.
Still, since taking office, Trump has stopped promising he'll gut the deal.
Analysts and former government officials said it was unlikely the Trump administration would renounce the Iran agreement. "If he thought everything was fine, he would have allowed this to move forward", Spicer said.
"On the Iran Deal, you hated the Iran Deal", co-host Chris Cuomo said.
And last week, CIA Director Mike Pompeo told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that "we're actively engaged in a lot of work to assist the President in making sure he has an understanding on where the Iranians are compliant and whether they might not be".
Since the pact was signed, Pompeo said, "The list of Iranian transgressions has increased dramatically".
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