Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the nuclear agreement with Iran risks repeating mistakes of past us policy toward North Korea, underscoring a tough Trump administration line against both countries.
This week the secretary of state informed congress that Tehran is keeping its side of the bargain to restrict its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of sanctions, which he's required to confirm every 90 days.
Indeed, "an unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea", he said.
Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University, said Trump may be allowing himself to argue in the future that existing deals can be improved without being totally discarded.
However, in a letter sent late Tuesday to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the administration has undertaken a full review of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. "None of the other countries would be up for that".
Tillerson is also likening Iran's behavior to that of North Korea.
But now, his administration is renewing the agreement. The immediate concern is the ways in which the financial relief provided by the deal's rollback of sanctions is being used by Iran to destabilize the region.
Critics, though, say it fails to achieve even that, because key restrictions on Iran's nuclear development program are phased out after a decade or more. He said the National Security Council-led interagency review of the agreement will evaluate whether it "is vital to the national security interests of the United States".
Speaking alongside the Saudi crown prince on Wednesday, Mattis offered an obsequious tribute to the 31-year-old "royal highness" while vowing to "reinforce Saudi Arabia's resistance to Iran's mischief and make you more effective with your military as we work together as partners". He said this review must address all the threats posed by Iran, adding, "It's clear there are many".
What is the U.S. doing about Iran?
Like the diplomats, Kirby said the administration may be looking for political cover.
Iran and major powers led by the USA made a deal in 2015 to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for easing economic sanctions. 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 it's scuttled. The United States has long accused Iran of being the world's biggest state sponsor of terrorism, saying Tehran supported conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and backed groups such as Hezbollah, its Lebanon-based ally.
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