Trump administration says Iran complying with nuclear deal

In a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan sent late Tuesday night, Tillerson confirmed that Iran remained compliant with the 2015 deal, but added: "Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror through many platforms and methods".

The certification of Iran's compliance, which must be sent to Congress every 90 days, is the first issued by the Trump administration.

The development of the United States reviewing the sanctions relief for Iran comes as Washington said Iran remains a "leading sponsor" of terrorism.

Past accusations of terrorism sponsorship have drawn stern responses from Tehran. Congress has already passed bills extending sanctions against Iran, while the US Treasury has announced further sanctions against those closely linked to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its clandestine network of global operatives. Earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi warned US Defense Secretary James Mattis against making "unwarranted and malicious accusations against Iran", according to Iranian media.

This letter certifies that the conditions of Section 135 (d)(6) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (AEA), as amended, including as amended by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (Public Law 114-17), enacted May 22, 2015, are met as of April 18, 2017.

Voronkov also stated that USA economic sanctions against Iran "create an unfavorable climate".

Though there was no sign the Trump administration meant 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.

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.

Then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn said the administration was putting Iran "on notice", but it was unclear what steps it would to take, although the imposition of sanctions was one measure considered.

Iran was exempted from an OPEC deal to reduce output by 1.2 million barrels per day starting January 1, a victory for Tehran which argued it needs to regain the market share it lost during long years of sanctions.

  • Jon Douglas