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Iran Remains A Dangerous Threat, Says U.S. Even As It Declares Iran Complying With Nuclear Deal

Iran Remains A Dangerous Threat, Says U.S. Even As It Declares Iran Complying With Nuclear Deal
While he was on the campaign trail, President Donald Trump had vowed to end the Iran Nuclear Deal. But even though he has refrained from condemning Russia, although both countries support Syria's Bashar al-Assad, he has continued to criticize Iran as president.
President Donald Trump’s administration warned that Tehran was in default of the spirit of the accord and that Washington would look for ways to strengthen it even though admitting that Iran was complying with its nuclear agreement with world powers.
And despite criticizing it during the 2016 campaign as "the worst deal ever", since he took office in January, it was the second time Trump certified Iranian compliance with the agreement.
Over its ballistic missile program and for contributing to regional tensions, new economic sanctions against Iran were being prepared, said Trump administration officials at a briefing of reporters on Monday on the decision.
With respect to the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the State Department must notify Congress every 90 days of Iran's compliance under U.S. law.
To decide, Trump had faced a congressionally mandated deadline of Monday.
Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson believed Iran "remains one of the most dangerous threats to U.S. interests and to regional stability" but Iran was judged in compliance of the 2015 nuclear deal, said a senior administration official.
Including complicity in atrocities committed in Syria and threats to Gulf waterways, support for terrorism and militancy, and ballistic missile development and proliferation, the official ticked off a list of accusations about Iranian behavior in the region.
"The president and the secretary of state judge that these Iranian activities severely undermine the intent of the JCPOA, which was to contribute to regional and international peace and security. As a result, the president, the secretary of state and the entire administration judge that Iran is unquestionably in default of the spirit of the JCPOA," the official said.
Strict international monitoring on its nuclear program, preventing Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon by imposing time-limited restrictions are the aims of the landmark deal struck with Iran by the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany.
Iran worked on the design of a missile-borne nuclear warhead until 2009, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, concluded in December 2015. Iran denies seeking nuclear arms.
Sanctions related to what Washington charges is Iran’s support for international terrorism, it's ballistic missile program and human rights record are maintained by the United States while lifting nuclear-linked sanctions.
Not just focusing on the Iran nuclear agreement but employing a strategy that would "address the totality of Iran's malign behavior" is intended to be employed by the Trump administration, the senior administration official said.
Citing concerns that the deal over time would let Iran openly pursue industrial-scale nuclear fuel enrichment, the official said that the administration is also looking at ways to strengthen the nuclear deal and more strictly enforce it.
"We're in a period where we're going to be working with our allies to explore options for addressing the JCPOA's flaws, which there are many," the official said.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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