US accuses Iran of destabilizing Middle East

Posted April 20, 2017

Trump's spokesman Sean Spicer said the review would be conducted by U.S. government agencies over the next 90 days and recommendations would be presented to the president as to whether to stick by the deal.

Tillerson raised the prospect of new sanctions against Tehran for regional provocations and said the administration was reviewing whether to abide by the landmark nuclear deal reached in 2015.

"Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, and is responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining USA interests in countries such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon, and continuing to support attacks against Israel", Tillerson told reporters at the State Department on Wednesday. Like with the North, Tillerson said, the Trump administration was unwilling to be patient with Iran, ticking through a list of countries where he said Iran was supporting terrorism and violence.

Secretary Tillerson followed these remarks by saying that the Trump administration will not "pass the buck" of a nuclear Iran to the next administration. It is the first such notification under the Trump administration. However, Tillerson emphasized that Iran continues to be the world's leading state sponsor of terror.

Mr Tillerson accused Iran of undermining United States interests in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Tillerson's announcement was the strongest signal to date that President Donald Trump may walk away from the nuclear deal.

"Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism and is responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining USA interests in countries such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon, and continuing to support attacks against Israel", he added.

In an ominous warning, Tillerson linked Iran's behavior to that of North Korea and said that with both countries, the US would no longer engage in "strategic patience".

The move resulted in speculation President Donald Trump's administration is trying to distance itself from Trump's hostile campaign-trail rhetoric on the deal.

Last week, the Treasury Department sanctioned Sohrab Soleimani, the younger brother of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, for human rights abuses he committed as head of Iran's notorious Evin prison.

"Iran poses the most significant threat to the Central Region and to our national interests and the interests of our partners and allies", Votel said in his prepared testimony.

Reapplying sanctions would violate the terms of the groundbreaking deal signed with Iran by former President Barack Obama, Russia, China and European Union partners. With Iran getting most of its benefits upfront, even critics of the agreement have said the United States gains little by breaking the deal now.

And even if the United States does not reimpose the nuclear sanctions that it dropped under the deal, it could impose penalties on Iran for its alleged sponsorship of armed "terrorist" movements in other countries.