Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

U.S. says Iran could become another North Korea if left 'unchecked'


"To tear up the Iran deal, in my view, would be giving Iran a license to get a nuclear weapon", said Iran Deal Chief Negotiator Wendy Sherman.

However, the United States imposed new sanctions against Iran in February 2017 after a medium-range ballistic missile test was carried out by Tehran in late January.

In the redesign, the heavy water reactor will be reconfigured so it can not yield fissile plutonium usable in a nuclear bomb.

Tillerson said the U.S. is conducting a comprehensive review of its Iran policy and added that the Obama-era nuclear deal only "delays" Tehran's goal of becoming a nuclear state.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated during a press conference on Wednesday that "the Trump administration is now conducting across the entire government a review of our Iran policy".

Under the agreement, limits were put on Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all nuclear-related bans against the Islamic Republic.

His tough words matched those of US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, who said in a visit to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday that Iran's destabilising influence would have to be overcome to end the conflict in Yemen.

"This deal represents the same failed approach of the past that brought us to the current imminent threat we face from North Korea", Tillerson said of the nuclear deal.

But Rex Tillerson has come pretty close to saying the agreement is not worth keeping, even though he's had to admit it's working.

The state department is obliged to inform Congress every 90 days about Iran's compliance with the deal.

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.

The UN Security Council later unanimously endorsed a resolution that effectively turned the JCPOA into worldwide law.

But Mr Obama kept those issues separate from the nuclear agreement, which would have been impossible to achieve without that narrow focus.

However, his predecessor Barack Obama argued the deal, between Iran and six world powers including China, Russia and the United Kingdom, was the best way to prevent Iran getting a nuclear weapon.

Tillerson's comments were synonymous with Donald Trump's rhetoric, who on many occasions - during his presidential campaign and afterwards - criticised the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the USA, the UK, Russia, France, China and Germany.

Sanctions were lifted after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) certified Tehran had restricted its sensitive nuclear activities.

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