Tillerson attacks Iran nuclear deal and vows a "comprehensive review"

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has accused Iran of "alarming ongoing provocations" to destabilise countries in the Middle East.

In spoken remarks, though, he talked only of Iran's bad behaviour and linked that to the future of the deal - a message that will resonate far more on Capitol Hill and to which it was probably aimed.

Tillerson said the JCPOA "fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran" and was a product of "the same failed approach of the past that brought us to the current imminent threat we face from North Korea".

"An unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea, and take the world along with it", Tillerson added.

"Once we have finalized our conclusions, we will meet the challenges Iran poses with clarity and conviction".

Despite Donald Trump's insistence during the presidential campaign that the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran - the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - was the "worst deal ever" and Iran's failure to fully comply with this agreement, the Trump administration Tuesday certified to Congress that Iran is in compliance with the agreement and will continue to receive sanction relief.

The first is how Trump will treat the nuclear agreement that his predecessor, Barack Obama, reached with Iran in 2015.

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Russia's failures to rid Syria of weapons stockpiles "has led to the killing of more children and innocents", he said. McMaster said the United States was "prepared to do more" regarding military action in Syria if necessary.

"Iran's nuclear ambitions are a grave risk to worldwide peace and security", he said.

Tillerson said the Trump administration is reviewing the deal in light of these and other concerns.

But US allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia were concerned the JCPOA does not shut down Iran's nuclear industry entirely nor forever, and Obama's domestic critics accused him of appeasing a terrorist state.

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the White House, April 2017.

"We don't know whether or not they're able to do that, but I have absolute confidence that he will be trying very, very hard", Trump said. Key restrictions it places on Iran's enrichment of uranium for potential use in nuclear bombs, for example, are scheduled to end in a decade.

Tillerson told reporters the review, which he announced on Tuesday (18 April), would not only look at Tehran's compliance with a 2015 nuclear deal but also its behaviour in the region which he said undermined U.S. interests in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon. After the deal was negotiated, he worked with Congress to maintain US sanctions targeting Iran's missile development and alleged human rights violations.

Iran has yet to comment on the Trump administration's latest round of criticism, but Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has warned that Tehran would retaliate if the United States breached the nuclear agreement.