U.S. accuses Iran of 'alarming provocations'

The White House is aware of "potential negative impacts" from a review ordered by President Donald Trump of whether lifting sanctions through the Iran nuclear deal was in US national security interests, his spokesman said on Wednesday.

"This deal represents the same failed approach of the past", Tillerson said at a hastily arranged press conference on Wednesday.

Tehran also supports the Houthis in Yemen, threatening the southern border of Saudi Arabia, while the Iranian-sponsored Quds force has been "undermining security in Iraq for years", Tillerson said.

Kiyaei noted that harsher rhetoric from the Trump administration, actions like the travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries including Iran, and a disengagement from limited direct communications has already deteriorated U.S.

Iran has defended its nuclear programme as purely civilian.

"Iran's nuclear ambitions are a grave risk to worldwide peace and security", the secretary of state said. Senator Tom Cotton, Republican -Arkansas, who led congressional opposition to the Iran deal, said in a statement that the administration's "certification is shaky, and it doesn't mean that the intentions behind Iran's nuclear program are benign".

The historic deal between Iran and six major powers restricts Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of worldwide oil and financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Soon, President Trump must decide whether to extend executive order waivers the Obama administration used to suspend some of the non-nuclear sanctions imposed on Iran and how scrupulously to hold Iran to account for infractions of the JCPOA.

Administration officials said the United States is looking at ways to more strictly enforce the terms of the nuclear deal and impose tougher sanctions related to Iran's activities in the Middle East, which the U.S. and its allies see as destabilizing. "Every administration, when it doesn't know what the hell to do, reviews things", Slavin said. U.S. sanctions, as approved by Congress, were suspended instead of revoked; they can be reimposed with the stroke of a presidential pen.

However, his predecessor Barack Obama argued the deal, between Iran and six world powers including China, Russia and the United Kingdom, was the best way to prevent Iran getting a nuclear weapon. Backing away from the agreement would spur enormous consternation across Europe and in Moscow.

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.

"President Trump... has realized that tearing up a highly complex and multinational agreement is not a wise thing to do at this time", Farideh Farhi, an independent scholar and affiliate graduate faculty member at University of Hawaii-Manoa, told Reason.

Another Western diplomat called the administration comments "a politically acceptable way of sending the certification to Congress" that Iran is holding to the deal, describing it as "certification dressed up in rhetoric" of criticism toward Tehran.

Former US President Barack Obama had said the deal would make the world safer and more secure.

Administration officials have made clear in recent days that they are very focused on Iran.

Trump's spokesman Sean Spicer said the review would be conducted by USA government agencies over the next 90 days and recommendations would be presented to the president as to whether to stick by the deal.



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