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US accuses Iran of "alarming provocations" amid nuke tensions

21 April 2017, 01:20 | Kevin Scott

Mark Wilson Getty Images

Mark Wilson  Getty Images

While Iran has complied to date with its requirements under the nuclear deal, its support for terrorism has the US evaluating whether to continue lifting sanctions on its oil sector, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

The Iran certification, made 90 minutes before a midnight Tuesday deadline, means Tehran will continue to enjoy relief from USA nuclear sanctions.

Tillerson raised the prospect of new sanctions against Tehran for regional provocations and said the administration was reviewing whether to abide by the landmark nuclear deal reached in 2015.

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

Tillerson spoke after the State Department certified to Congress that Iran is now in compliance with its obligations under the 2015 deal.

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) said Wednesday that President Trump could effectively rip up the accord, by violating its terms on sanctions.

Tillerson, seeking to reinforce the idea that the U.S. is forcefully countering Iran's destabilising behaviour in the Middle East, also described Tehran as a "leading state sponsor of terror". He says an unchecked Iran could pursue the same path as Pyongyang "and take the world along with it".

The president's comments came in a almost 20-minute news conference Thursday afternoon with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, with Trump weighing in on several global trouble spots, including Iran, North Korea and Libya. It is the first such notification under U.S. President Donald Trump.

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The agreement exchanged limits on Iran's nuclear program to thwart its ability to create a nuclear weapon with the lifting of crippling worldwide economic and oil sanctions.

As a candidate in the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump was an outspoken critic of the deal but had offered conflicting opinions on whether he would try to scrap it, modify it or keep it in place with more strenuous enforcement.

As long as Iran refuses to allow the IAEA unfettered access to all military sites, it is not in compliance with the JCPOA and the global community can not be confident that Iran's nuclear weapons program has been halted. "There would have been no way to get a deal if we lumped in everything else we don't like about Iran".

But after Trump came to the White House in January, the Israel-US ties have witnessed a remarkable upswing, with Trump and Netanyahu jointly criticising Iran at a presser in February in the US. "So we'll see what happens".

White House press secretary Sean Spicer talks to the media during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, April 10, 2017. "If he didn't, if he thought everything was fine he would've allowed this to move forward".

In the Middle East, Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday told reporters who asked about Iran's role in Yemen and elsewhere that, "Everywhere you look, if there's trouble in the region, you find Iran".

"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.

"I think they are doing a tremendous disservice to an agreement that was signed", Trump said.



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