Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has informed the U.S. Congress that through April 18th Iran has complied with its commitments under the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.
At the same time, he announced that the United States is undertaking a government-wide review of U.S. policy toward Iran, including whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran under the JCPOA “is vital to the national security interests of the United States.”
At a press briefing, Secretary Tillerson spoke of Iran’s “alarming and ongoing provocations that export terror and violence, destabilizing one country at a time.”
Secretary Tillerson said that left unchecked, Iran “has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea,” and that the United States does not intend to discover for the second time “that strategic patience is a failed approach.”
Mr. Tillerson pointed to Iran’s support for the brutal Assad regime in Syria, which has prolonged a conflict that has killed some 500,000 Syrians and displaced millions more. In Iraq, he noted, Iran has used its Quds Force to undermine security in that country for years. Iran provides weapons, training, and funding to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations dedicated to the destruction of Israel. In Yemen, Iran supports the Houthi rebels who are attempting to overthrow the government, and threaten the southern border of Saudi Arabia.
Other provocative Iranian behavior includes undermining freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf; conducting cyber attacks on the U.S. and its Gulf partners; plotting terrorist attacks throughout the world, including a plot to kill Abdul al-Jubeir when he was the Saudi Ambassador to the United States.
Secretary Tillerson also pointed to the government’s human rights abuses against the Iranian people, as well as its record of unjustly detaining foreigners, including U.S. citizens.
After concluding the comprehensive review of U.S. policy toward Iran, Secretary Tillerson said, the United States “will meet the challenge Iran poses with clarity and conviction.”