Iran nuclear deal a failure, says US

"An unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea and to take the world along with it", Tillerson told reporters a day after announcing a review of US policy towards Iran, including sanctions against Tehran. It architects, however, said they were cautiously optimistic that the deal would stay in place.

But Tillerson argued the accord had just been a way of "buying off" the regime and would only delay its development of a nuclear weapon that could threaten its region and the world. 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.

In a press statement on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of State notified the Congress that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal, the very first such notification under the Trump administration.

"The U.S. Department of State certified to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan today that Iran is compliant through April 18 with its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action", Tillerson said in a statement.

During his presidential campaign, Trump called the agreement "the worst deal ever negotiated".

The secretary of state earlier acknowledged the Iranians had met the terms of the 2015 deal, but raised concerns about the country as a "state sponsor of terrorism".

But the top U.S. diplomat stopped short of threatening to jettison the 2015 agreement that was brokered by world powers, or say whether the Trump administration would punish Iran with new sanctions.

The country has said it aims to regain its pre-sanctions production level of some 4 million b/d, though oil minister Bijan Zanganeh has said Iran would be willing to hold its output at around 3.8 million b/d if an OPEC production cut agreement is extended through the second half of the year. The United States has been looking for ways to address the threat of North Korea's nuclear program, which is significantly farther along than Iran's.

Tuesday's certification extends sanctions relief for Iran in exchange for continued constraints on its nuclear program.

Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the Trump administration appeared to be preparing a tougher line against Iran.

The Trump administration has given itself 90 days to complete its review, but will need to make a series of decisions in coming weeks about whether to continue its support of the deal, which was also brokered with Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation.

Former US President Barack Obama had said the deal would make the world safer and more secure.

"President Trump... has realized that tearing up a highly complex and multinational agreement is not a wise thing to do at this time", Farideh Farhi, an independent scholar and affiliate graduate faculty member at University of Hawaii-Manoa, told Reason.

"By ordering a review process, the administration is hinting that it has not yet formulated an overall policy regarding how to deal with Iran", Farhi explained.

Analysts and former government officials said it was unlikely the Trump administration would renounce the Iran agreement.

  • Eleanor Harrison