U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered a review of the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, seeking to determine whether sanction relief agreed to by the United States should continue, a move likely to anger Iran.
The U.S. State Department certified on late Tuesday night that Iran has met all of its obligations under the nuclear deal, which allows sanction relief to continue for now, but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson raised concern about Iran’s alleged role as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Tillerson said Trump has directed his National Security Council to initiate an interagency review of the nuclear deal, which is formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The review will evaluate whether the sanction relief agreed to by the U.S. is “vital” to the country’s national security interests.
“Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror, through many platforms and methods,” Tillerson said in a letter to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan. “When the interagency review is completed, the administration looks forward to working with Congress on this issue.”
Tillerson did not specify how long the review is expected to take.
Tuesday’s announcement is likely to anger Iran, which previously accused the United States of violating the nuclear deal after the lawmakers voted to renew economic sanctions against Iran. In retaliation, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered scientists to begin preparations to develop nuclear-powered ships.
The future of the nuclear deal has remained uncertain since Trump won last year’s presidential election. Trump said during his campaign for the White House that he would “renegotiate” the deal with Iran, but up until Tuesday he had not taken any steps to alter the deal.
Under the terms of the deal, the U.S., the European Union, China, and Russia have lifted their nuclear-related sanctions against Iran. Other sanctions – such as those relating to Iran’s missile program – were not part of the deal and have remained in place.
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