Iran 'not living up to the spirit' of nuclear deal

Cheryl Sanders
April 22, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson branded the Iran nuclear deal a failure Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) as President Donald Trump ordered a review of how Washington is countering the threat from Tehran.

As the UN's top negotiator on Syria, Staffan de Mistura, prepared to hold talks with the Russian deputy foreign minister in Geneva on Monday without U.S. involvement, Mr Trump hosted the Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni at the White House.

Majidyar said he thought that the Trump administration would "try to implement the deal more strictly rather than annul it".

That statement is designed as a break of former President Barack Obama's foreign policy, which ignored Iran's hostile actions in the name of reaching a nuclear deal that most Republicans criticized.

"That in no way mitigates against or excuses the other Iranian activities in the region including the war in Yemen that grinds on and what they're doing in Syria" to keep President Bashar Assad in power", he said.

Trump believes that the nuclear deal should be linked to what he calls Iran's role as a state-sponsor of terror.

"In Beijing, Moscow, Tehran, they are recalibrating their strategies - you can't deny it - because they don't have any idea of how Trump will respond", senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the highest-ranking Democrat on the intelligence committee, told The New York Times.

As the White House finalizes that review, USA officials will offer competing visions for how to deal with the country, and American allies in the Middle East will seek to tilt Washington's preferences in their favor. And he said that the Trump administration sees the Iran deal as part of a "failed approach" of previous administrations that helped bring about a nuclear North Korea.

"We are analysing it very, very carefully and we'll have something to say about it in the not-too-distant future".

The P5+1 deal allows Iran an extremely limited civilian nuclear program, and since its implementation, both the U.S. and IAEA have repeatedly affirmed Iranian compliance. In addition to Tillerson's Iran certification, this week's reaffirmations of the status quo included delaying a decision on whether to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

Trump also voiced optimism that the US had successfully enlisted China to try to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program. On the one hand, Trump wants to show he's being tougher than Obama toward Iran, but on the other hand, he's not yet ready to rip up the deal.

In response to Tillerson's statements, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif criticized "worn-out" US accusations that it was seeking a nuclear weapon to threaten the region and the world. Instead, the comments likely signalled Washington's determination to look for ways to pressure Iran beyond the scope of the agreement. The E.U.'s senior foreign policy official, Federica Mogherini, said last month that Trump administration officials had told her that the US remained committed to the deal.

It came after US Defense Secretary James Mattis repeated anti-Iran allegations during a visit to Saudi Arabia.

Other reports by iNewsToday