"President Donald J. Trump has directed a National Security Council-led interagency 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 added.
In a formal notification required every 90 days to the US Congress-the first delivered since Trump's inauguration-Secretary of State Tillerson certified that, as of April 18, Iran was meeting its terms of the deal, which required it to cap its uranium enrichment, reduce its number of centrifuges by two-thirds and submit to global inspections to ensure compliance.
Spicer said that the US might impose additional sanctions against Iran following the review, while cognizant of the potential fallout sanctions could cause.
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.
Iran has repeatedly denied accusations by the West that it was ever trying to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran has continued to test ballistic missiles - which was not part of the nuclear agreement - and Iran has kept up its staunch support of Syrian President Bashar Assad. And so we are going to review completely the JCPOA itself.
"We understand there is some tough talk for internal consumption and the United States electorate", one Western diplomat explained. But in place of action, the Trump administration is only reviewing these agreements, as it is doing with much of American foreign policy. He said the government is conducting a review of all policies relative to Iran after detailing Iran's "alarming ongoing provocations" including its support for the region's main antagonists, including the Houthis in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Hamas and Hizbullah in Lebanon. "None of the other countries would be up for that".
In an ominous warning, Tillerson linked Iran's behavior to North Korea's and said the United States would no longer engage in "strategic patience" with either country.
But now, his administration is renewing the agreement. That could mean Trump is looking for other ways to pressure Iran.
By asserting that the JCPOA does not prevent a nuclear Iran, Secretary Tillerson has chosen to ignore the vast majority of US security experts, as well as the intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, China, and even Israel.
The decision the administration is considering "is if providing additional such relief will be in the national security interests of the United States", the official said.
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"Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror through many platforms and methods", Tillerson said in his letter Tuesday.
Iran arbitrarily detains foreigners, including US citizens, on false charges.
Like the diplomats, Kirby said the administration may be looking for political cover.
But Tillerson has come pretty close to saying the agreement was not worth keeping, even though he's had to admit it's working.
The agreement between Iran and six other nations restrict's Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of global oil and financial sanctions.
Former US President Barack Obama had said the deal would make the world safer and more secure. But neither Iran nor the other world powers that negotiated the agreement have any interest in reopening the deal, and U.S. companies stand to lose billions if it's scuttled.
Iran's nuclear ambitions are a grave risk to global peace and security.
The official concluded, "I'm not sure that's a compelling case to stay in the JCPOA and continue to provide the sanctions relief that is fueling Iran's belligerent and risky behavior".
But Majidyar argued that scrapping the deal wouldn't help Washington. "What I see is a more strict (US) interpretation of the deal and that interpretation will be different than Iran's interpretation".
- Iran is not allowing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors access to military sites.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer talks to the media during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, April 10, 2017.