Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

United States top diplomat warns of Iran 'provocations'

He accused the country of "alarming and ongoing provocations that export terror and violence, destabilising more than one country at a time".

Iran has continued to test ballistic missiles - which was not part of the nuclear agreement - and Iran has kept up its staunch support of Syrian President Bashar Assad. It is nothing less than unnerving for the Secretary of State to ignore the advice of almost all security experts, foreign and domestic, on the efficacy of the nuclear deal.

Proponents of the deal say that abandoning it would make other challenges in the Middle East even harder, emboldening Iranian hardliners and triggering Iran to restart its nuclear program, which could start a nuclear race in the region as other countries rushed to get their own bomb.

The six powers that negotiated the nuclear deal with the involvement from the European Union have set aside Iran's alleged support to terrorism in order to get a deal guaranteeing that the country would not be able to build a nuclear weapon for a decade and would remain under the eye of United Nations weapons inspectors. "Iran's nuclear ambitions are a grave risk to worldwide peace and security".

How has the United States position changed?

But Tillerson has come pretty close to saying the agreement was not worth keeping, even though he's had to admit it's working.

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

He added that Tehran's nuclear ambitions place a threat on world peace, and it holds the worst record with human rights - highlighting that Iran's danger to the region and world must be seen.

But Mr Obama kept those issues separate from the nuclear agreement, which would have been impossible to achieve without that narrow focus.

Mr Trump and his administration have said it is all part of a strategy of keeping their opponents on their toes, unsure of what the next U.S. move might be. A lot of reporters took that as a hint that the White House plans to reverse course from Trump's campaign rhetoric and keep the deal intact. The administration also said that it has extended the sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for the country to continue curbs on its nuclear programme.

The announcement of the review of the nuclear deal was made despite Iran fulfilling its commitments under the deal according to the latest review which was announced earlier this week.

Appearing in the same NewsHour program, James Robbin, a former special assistant in the defense secretary's office during the George W. Bush administration, said a US pullout from the nuclear deal would not be without precedent.

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