- Thu, 04/20/2017 05:30 AM
Tuesday, the Trump administration announced of launching an inter-agency review to decide if lifting of sanctions against Iran was in the United States' national security interests though they agreed to Tehran complying with a deal to rein in its nuclear program. Tuesday, in a letter, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addressed to US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, agreed of Iran being compliant with the 2015 deal but raised concerns about its role as a state sponsor of terrorism.
The deal demands of the State Department to notify Congress every 90 days on Iran's compliance under the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The notification was the first under US President Donald Trump. Tillerson stated of Iran’s compliance through April 18th with its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Tillerson further added that President Trump had directed a National Security Council-led interagency review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to evaluate if suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the JCPOA is vital to the national security interests of the United States. Without specifying the timeline of the review, he stated in his letter to Ryan that the administration looked forward to working with Congress on the issue.
In his presidential campaign, Trump had called the agreement "the worst deal ever negotiated," raising speculation if he would rip up the agreement after assuming office. The deal between Iran and six major powers curbs Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international oil and financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Iran has long been denying of ever considering developing atomic weapons but nuclear experts warn that US violation of the nuclear deal would give Iran an opportunity to backtrack on its commitments to curb nuclear development. It has committed to reduce its centrifuges count by two-thirds which caps its level of uranium enrichment well below the level needed for bomb-grade material. It has also committed to reduce its enriched uranium stockpile from around 10,000 kg to 300 kg for 15 years and submit to international inspections to verify its compliance.
Last month Trump's Defense Secretary James Mattis had accused Iran of behaving as an exporter of terrorism and sponsoring militant activity. For a longtime the US has accused Iran of being the world's biggest state sponsor of terrorism and stating that Tehran is supporting conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen and backing groups such as Hezbollah, its Lebanon-based ally.