Tillerson declares the Iran nuclear deal a failure

"The JCPOA fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran", Tillerson said, using an acronym for the 2015 nuclear deal.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States is now assessing the Iran nuclear deal because the country is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism.

Okay then. After nearly two years of Donald Trump railing against the Iranian nuclear agreement, his administration admitted that Iran is complying with its obligations under the deal.

If the U.S. government refuses to remove sanctions agreed to be lifted by terms of the agreement while Iran is complying with its side of the deal, the U.S. would be in violation of the agreement, which was signed by the U.S., Iran, Russia, China and European Union partners.

Opponents of the deal in the United States objected, claiming it did not allow for the kind of inspections of Iran's atomic sites that would guarantee the country's nuclear activities remain peaceful.

"That is why we have to look at Iran in a very comprehensive way in terms of the threats it poses in all areas of the region and the world", he added. The letter marks the first time the White House has certified Iran's compliance with the deal, under which a review to Congress is required by the administration every 90 days.

He said the deal, brokered by former President Barack Obama's administration along with other world powers, represented the "same failed approach" the USA has taken to North Korea.

During his presidential campaign, Trump called the nuclear agreement "the worst deal ever negotiated", raising questions over whether he would rip it up once he took office.

The Trump administration has taken hard-line positions against both North Korea and Iran over their nuclear programs, though it's not yet clear whether this will lead to punitive measures. -Iranian tensions, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, who was in Saudi Arabia on a tour of the Middle East, on Wednesday accused Iran of sending missiles to rebel Houthi fighters in Yemen. The U.S. has been exploring ways to address the threat of North Korea's nuclear program, which is significantly farther along than Iran's.

AP Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important. The response, in a word, is heartening.

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