'Unchecked' Iran could become another N Korea

"Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, and is responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining USA interests in countries such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon, and continuing to support attacks against Israel", he said during an appearance at the State Department".

"A comprehensive Iran policy requires we address all of the threats posed by Iran and it is clear there are many", he added.

Though there was no sign the Trump administration meant to walk away from the deal, Secretary Tillerson twice cautioned that if left unchecked, Iran could become a threat like North Korea, which is also under pressure over its nuclear ambitions.

But Tillerson is leaving open the possibility that the Trump administration will uphold it anyway.

Yet the president seems keenly aware that his indecisiveness about the deal's future is a step back from his campaign declaration that as president he would rip it up or renegotiate.

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.

And even if the United States does not reimpose the nuclear sanctions that it dropped under the deal, it could impose penalties on Iran for its alleged sponsorship of armed "terrorist" movements in other countries.

Tillerson's comments were synonymous with Donald Trump's rhetoric, who on many occasions - during his presidential campaign and afterwards - criticised the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the United States, the UK, Russia, France, China and Germany. 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 letter did not say how long the evaluation would take. Iran has complained that sanctions relief never gave it the economic boost it craved, and it has blamed the United States for not doing enough to allow USA businesses and banks to set up shop in Iran.

Trump signs 'Buy American, Hire American' executive order targeting foreign material sourcing
Critics of the programme have said these organisations get crowded out by outsourcing companies that are mostly from India. The Trump administration said that if the waivers are not benefiting the USA they will be "renegotiated or revoked".

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday sent a letter to Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. certifying the compliance with the 2015 deal, which exchanges sanctions relief for a rollback of Iran's nuclear program.

Tillerson's remarks come just a day after it was reported that the administration notified Congress that Iran was doing everything they're required to do under the agreement.

In addition to the US, five other countries and the European Union agreed to lift sanctions against Iran in exchange for it's assurance it won't try to make or acquire a nuclear weapon.

Former President Barack Obama would have agreed with all the charges: that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism, that it supports proxies which undermine U.S. interests in the region, that it's hostile to Israel and that its ballistic missile tests challenge UN Security Council prohibitions.

Tillerson's statement before cameras at the State Department reflected the competing forces pulling at the Trump administration as it develops its policy toward Iran. The second is the extent to which Trump's administration will attempt to weaken Iran's position in the Middle East. He also said the narrowly-defined deal to control their nuclear program did not stop Iran from other meddling in the region through terrorism.

Opponents of the deal in the USA objected, claiming it did not allow for the kind of inspections of Iran's atomic sites that would guarantee the country's nuclear activities remain peaceful.

Analysts and former government officials said it was unlikely the Trump administration would renounce the Iran agreement.

Since the pact was signed, Pompeo said, "The list of Iranian transgressions has increased dramatically".

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