BEIRUT (Reuters) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday the United States should meet its own obligations agreed in a landmark nuclear deal in 2015 rather than making accusations against the Islamic Republic.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday accused Iran of “alarming ongoing provocations” to destabilise countries in the Middle East as the Trump administration launched a review of its policy towards Tehran that will include the 2015 nuclear deal. [nL1N1HR14B]
In a letter to House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, Tillerson said on Tuesday that Iran remained compliant with the nuclear accord, but there were concerns about its role as a state sponsor of terrorism.
In the first reaction to Tillerson’s remarks from a senior Iranian official, Zarif tweeted that the United States should “fulfill its own commitments”.
Under the nuclear deal, the State Department must notify Congress every 90 days on Iran’s compliance under the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It was the first such notification under U.S. President Donald Trump.
In his tweet, Zarif also addressed Tillerson’s terrorism charge: “Worn-out US accusations can’t mask its admission of Iran’s compliance w/ JCPOA.”
Iran helped to create and continues to fund Hezbollah, the Lebanese military and political organization which the United States has listed as a terrorist organization.
Both Iran and Hezbollah are currently fighting in support of Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s forces. Iran has also sent military advisers and fighters to neighbouring Iraq, where they are taking part in the Baghdad government’s operations against Islamic State.
Iranian hardliners have regularly criticized Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani for their role in negotiating the 2015 nuclear deal, which they see as capitulation to Western powers.
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 historic deal between Iran and six major powers restricts Tehran’s nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of international oil and financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The Trump administration’s inter-agency review of policy towards Iran will examine whether the lifting of sanctions against Tehran is in the U.S. national security interests.
(Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; editing by John Stonestreet and Gareth Jones)