US top diplomat warns of Iran 'provocations'

Thu 20 April 2017 06:58 GMT | 10:58 Local Time

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Left unchecked, Middle East nation can 'travel the same path as North Korea', Tillerson says.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday slammed Iran's "alarming and ongoing provocations", announcing a "comprehensive review" of U.S. policy toward the Middle East country, according to Anadolu Agency.

"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, and continuing to support attacks against Israel," Tillerson said in a damning statement to reporters in Washington D.C.

"An unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea, and take the world along with it," he added.

Iran and major powers led by the U.S. made a deal in 2015 to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for easing economic sanctions.

Tillerson's statement came hours after the State Department confirmed that Iran continued to comply with the terms of the deal.

The U.S.'s top diplomat said the agreement "fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran", but stopped short of threatening to terminate the deal or slap more sanctions.

He nevertheless added that the Donald Trump administration had "no intention of passing the buck to a future administration on Iran".

Iran has carried out a number of ballistic missile tests since January, raising Washington's ire.

The U.S. is already engaged in a hot stand-off with a North Korea that continues to flout international law by carrying out regular missile tests.

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