Tabnak – From the days of his electoral campaign, US President Donald Trump had been persistently criticizing the Iran nuclear deal, saying that he would scrap the deal once becomes president. However, in his first official report to the congress, Trump admits Iran’s compliance to the deal.
Associated Press reports that the Trump administration has notified Congress that Iran is complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama, and says the US has extended the sanctions relief given to Iran.
However, in a letter sent late Tuesday to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the administration has undertaken a full review of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Tillerson said the Trump administration was reviewing the lifting of sanctions against Iran. According to CNN, Tillerson came to the conclusion during a routine, quarterly report to Congress on Iran's progress in the nuclear deal. Reapplying sanctions would violate the terms of the groundbreaking deal.
In a statement released by the State Department, Tillerson said Iran is making good on its commitment under the agreement, but added that President Donald Trump has ordered a review of the deal.
"President Donald J. Trump has directed a National Security Council-led inter-agency review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that will evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the JCPOA is vital to the national security interests of the United States," Tillerson said in his statement.
The White House must send certification of Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA to Congress every 90 days, and it was the first issued by the Trump administration.
Tillerson, however, accused Iran of being "a leading state sponsor of terror, through many platforms and methods," and noted the administration would review the nuclear deal with that in mind.
Similar accusations leveled by US officials have in the past drawn strong reactions from Iranian authorities. Early this month, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi advised US Defense Secretary James Mattis against making such "unwarranted and malicious accusations against Iran."
He said Washington should instead oblige its regional allies to halt their widespread financial, ideological, and military support for the terrorist outfits that have been plaguing several countries.
Meanwhile, it is said that the Trump administration is considering tougher sanctions on Iran, including using a much stricter interpretation on the current nuclear deal between Iran, the US and five other world powers.
A senior White House official told Foreign Policy that the Trump administration is considering being more rigorous with sanctions in the future, with the possibility of broadening US sanctions to include more companies that are linked with the IRGC.
Dan De Luce, on Foreign Policy, wrote: "A concerted US effort to squeeze Iran would represent a gamble that Tehran’s regional push for power, particularly in Syria and Yemen, could be checked in part by increasing economic pressure.
But the approach could backfire if it causes tensions with the Islamic Republic to spin out of control or prompts Tehran to pull out of the nuclear deal...And a harder line on sanctions also could drive a wedge between Washington and its European allies.”
The nuclear deal was sealed in Vienna in July 2015 after 18 months of negotiations. Opponents of the deal, including Israel, objected it, saying it only delayed Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and did not allow for the kind of inspections of its atomic sites that would guarantee it was not cheating. Obama, Kerry and others who negotiated the deal strenuously defended its terms.