US says Iran could become another North Korea if left 'unchecked'

Namrata Tripathi
rex tillerson

United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday called the Obama-led Iran nuclear deal a failure and said that if Tehran remained "unchecked," then it could become another North Korea.

Without mentioning much about the future of the landmark agreement reached between Iran and the UN Security Council's five permanent member countries, Tillerson said that the US is conducting a review of its Iran policy and added that the Iran deal only "delays" the country's goal of becoming a nuclear-powered state.

"This deal represents the same failed approach of the past that brought us to the current imminent threat we face from North Korea. The Trump administration has no intention of passing the buck to a future administration on Iran," Tillerson said at a press briefing. "Iran's nuclear ambitions are a grave risk to international peace and security," he added.

Tillerson's tough stance on the Iran deal came a day after the Trump administration notified the Congress that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal reached in 2015 to limit the Islamic Republic's nuclear ability. The administration also said that it has extended the sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for the country to continue curbs on its nuclear programme.

Iran sanctions

"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. Under the deal, the State Department is required to notify Congress every 90 days on Iran's compliance under the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Trump, during his presidential campaign, had pledged to renegotiate or dismantle the Iran nuclear deal. Considering the US President's stance on the deal, the Islamic Republic's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei in November had said that Tehran would retaliate if the US breached the nuclear agreement negotiated by former US President Barack Obama.

Tillerson, during the press briefing, had also described Tehran as a "leading state sponsor of terror."

"The evidence is clear: Iran's provocative actions threaten the United States, the region and the world," he said.

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