U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday accused Iran of ‘alarming ongoing provocations’ to destabilize countries in the Middle East as the Trump administration launched a review of its policy toward Tehran, reports Reuters.
Tillerson told reporters the review, which he announced on Tuesday, would not only look at Tehran’s compliance with a 2015 nuclear deal but also its behavior in the region which he said undermined U.S. interests in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon.
His tough words matched those of U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who said in a visit to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday that Iran’s destabilizing influence would have to be overcome to end the conflict in Yemen.
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.
Though there was no sign the Trump administration intended to walk away from the deal, Tillerson twice cautioned that if left unchecked Tehran could become a threat like North Korea, which is also under pressure over its nuclear ambitions.
In a letter to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan released late on Tuesday, Tillerson declared that Iran was meeting its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal but there were concerns about Tehran’s role as a state sponsor of terrorism.