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Iran not complying with 2015 nuclear deal, says Donald Trump
21 April 2017, 06:25 | Laverne Osborne
Chuck Todd reacts to President Trump's remarks on North Korea and Iran at today's joint press conference with Italian PM Paolo Gentiloni.
U.S. president Donald Trump described the Iran deal during his election campaign as the "worst deal ever negotiated", pledging to abolish the agreement, though has so far not followed through on his promises to revoke it.
As part of a quarterly report to Congress on Iran's adherence to the nuclear deal, Tillerson acknowledged Tuesday that Tehran was meeting its commitments under the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
While disparaging the nuclear deal and accusing Iran of fomenting violence and terrorism throughout the Middle East, Trump has avoided committing to abandoning the agreement, a move that would be staunchly opposed by US businesses and European allies.
"They are not living up to the spirit of the agreement, I can tell you that", Trump said of the Iranians on Thursday, though he did not mention any specific violations.
Under the 2015 deal struck between Iran and the USA and five other nations, Iran's nuclear program would be reduced and closely monitored in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. The seven-nation nuclear deal, he said, "fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran" and "only delays their goal of becoming a nuclear state". Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called out Russia, Iran's ally in Syria, and said it was either "incompetent" in failing to stop Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons or "complicit".
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.
But after he took office, the USA president has not yet explicitly said he would pull out from the historic agreement.
In response, North Korea said it would test missiles on a weekly basis, and warned of "all-out war" if the United States took military action. 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.
Republicans had previously lambasted the Obama administration for what they said was "rewarding" Iran for its hardline policies, including threats to Israel, in the Middle East.
Trump bashed the Iran deal as too weak throughout the campaign, carrying that stance into office.
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. The end of sanctions is seen as a victory in Tehran: it has boosted its oil production on world energy markets and signed global commercial deals worth billions. It is another example of buying off a power who has nuclear ambitions; we buy them off for a short period of time and then someone has to deal with it later.
The National Security Council is currently midway in a policy review of the nuclear deal as well as the sanctions that are now suspended.
The deal, negotiated under Mr Barack Obama, placed limitations on Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for lifting economic sanctions against it.
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