US secretary of state Rex Tillerson said that Iran can become next North Korea if its nuclear deal remained unchecked.
Speaking to reporters at the State Department, Tillerson said the US was ultimately at risk of going to nuclear war with the Middle East nation, should it decide to keep building more missiles, much like the Hermit Kingdom has been doing.
“Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and is responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining U.S. interests in countries such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon,” Tillerson explained.
“Whether it be assassination attempts, support of weapons of mass destruction, [or] deploying destabilizing militias, Iran spends its treasure and time disrupting peace,” he said. Tillerson went on to claim that former President Barack Obama’s 2015 nuclear agreement between the UN and Iran was a complete failure — citing reports that the country displayed a missile inscribed “death to Israel” during a military parade on Tuesday.
Tillerson claimed Iran had been “behind terrorist attacks throughout the rest of the world” — including a plot to kill Adel al-Jubeir, former Saudi ambassador to the United States.
Tillerson said the US is conducting a comprehensive review of its Iran policy and added that the Obama-era nuclear deal only “delays” Tehran’s goal of becoming a nuclear state. His toughen stand on Iran yesterday came a day after the Trump administration notified the Congress that Tehran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by former president Barack Obama to limit the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ability. The administration said it has extended the sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme.
Iran has defended its nuclear programme as purely civilian and its supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei warned in November that Tehran would retaliate if the US breached the nuclear agreement. Tillerson, seeking to reinforce the idea that the US is forcefully countering Iran’s destabilising behaviour in the Middle East, 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. “An unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea and take the world along with it. The United States is keen to avoid a second piece of evidence that strategic patience is a failed approach.”
Tillerson accused Iran of intensifying multiple conflicts including the one in Syria, undermining US interests in several countries, continuing to support attacks against Israel, and sponsoring cyber and terror attacks across the world.
Tillerson’s comments were synonymous with Donald Trump’s rhetoric, who on many occasions – during his presidential campaign and afterwards – criticised the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the US, the UK, Russia, France, China and Germany.
The six powers that negotiated the nuclear deal with the involvement from the European Union have set aside Iran’s alleged support to terrorism in order to get a deal guaranteeing that the country would not be able to build a nuclear weapon for a decade and would remain under the eye of UN weapons inspectors.
In February, Trump had described the nuclear deal with Iran as “the worst” agreement ever negotiated, calling the Islamic Republic the world’s “number one terrorist state”.