United States orders review of lifting Iran sanctions

Trump Orders Review of Iran Nuclear Deal and Sanctions Relief Over TerrorismMore

But this week, Tillerson argued in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan that Iran is still "a leading state sponsor of terror".

He claimed that Iran stands behind its commitments under the nuclear deal but "remains a leading state sponsor of terror".

President Donald Trump ordered the review to evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to the nuclear deal was "vital to the national security interests of the United States", Tillerson said.

Trump during his campaign repeatedly criticised the Iran nuclear deal, calling it "the worst deal ever negotiated". The deal saw Iran commit to limit its development of nuclear material in return for the lifting of oil and financial sanctions worth billions of dollars.

On March 29, Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), told Congress that the U.S. needs to have military action as an option on the table given Iran's continuing belligerence and support for terrorist groups in the Middle East and beyond.

Tillerson said Iran has complied with the agreement's terms through Tuesday, the day he released the letter.

The deal stipulates that the State Department must notify Congress every 90 days regarding Iran's compliance.

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It's unclear exactly how long the Trump administration's review will take.

On Monday, Foreign Policy reported that the Trump administration was considering increasing current U.S. sanctions against Iran.

His tough words matched those of US Defense 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.

In exchange, the United States and the European Union agreed to lift the sanctions that have crippled the country's economy. That could mean "incredibly strict implementation" of the nuclear deal, such as holding them accountable for even minor breaches for the agreement.

The then-candidate declined to give details about his plans to improve the deal, and Trump has not clarified how he would approach a new agreement since becoming President.

"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.

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