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Tillerson accuses Tehran of 'alarming provocations' as USA reviews policy


M - US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has accused Iran of "alarming ongoing provocations" aimed at destabilising the Middle East and undermining America's interests in the region, BBC reported.

However, Tillerson branded the deal a failure, as Trump ordered a review of how the U.S. is countering the threat from Iran.

Tillerson's statement went on to describe some of those provocations, including support for terrorism, interference in Iraq, backing the Assad regime in Syria, support for the Houthis in Yemen, harassment of USA navy ships in the Persian Gulf, and cyber-attacks against US interests and allies.

Trump was a harsh critic of the deal as a candidate, and his administration has taken a tough line with Iran over a number of non-nuclear issues.

He said the deal, brokered by former President Barack Obama's administration along with other world powers, represented the "same failed approach" the US has taken to North Korea.

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

"It would more isolate the United States than it would isolate Iran", he said, noting that other world powers are party to the deal.

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Tillerson had revealed the Iran policy review in a letter Tuesday to House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Obama, Kerry and others who negotiated the deal strenuously defended its terms and said the agreement made the world a safer place.

He said the USA also is evaluating whether to redesignate Pyongyang as a state sponsor of terrorism.

"Notwithstanding, Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror through many platforms and methods", Tillerson wrote.

The nuclear deal with Iran was agreed to in 2015 and meant to constrain Tehran's ability to make nuclear weapons for at least 15 years.

"I think they are doing a tremendous disservice to an agreement that was signed", Trump said. With some of those critics now in office, Tillerson's comments marked the first time that position has been echoed by the USA government. "There's nothing wrong or inherently suspicious about that".

"If sanctions are re-imposed on Iran, Iran can walk from the deal", said Jeremy Bash, Former CIA Chief of Staff.

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White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump had still not decided whether to remain a party to the nuclear deal. The United States has been looking for ways to address the threat of North Korea's nuclear program, which is significantly farther along than Iran's.

Robbin pointed to Bush's order of a National Security Council review of a 1972 us anti-ballistic missile treaty with the Soviet Union - a review that led to a recommendation of a withdrawal and a Bush decision to do so.

Now his administration is only focused on marginal changes that would preserve much of the existing agreement, according to draft guidelines that Trump's trade envoy sent to Congress.

So what exactly voids the Nuclear deal? "So, Tehran would be well-advised not to overreact to whatever happens". Mr Tillerson's strident tone on Wednesday left listeners to conclude the nuclear deal was on thin ice as he pointed out that the threat from Tehran went way beyond the potential for atomic weapons.

On another subject, as he stood alongside Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni at the White House, Trump voiced optimism that the USA had successfully enlisted China to try to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.

Iran's regional rivals Israel and Saudi Arabia have also decried the accord for not forcing Iran to shut down its nuclear industry completely nor forever.

During the presidential campaign, Mr Trump described the JCPOA as the "worst deal ever negotiated".

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