Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ratcheted up tensions with Iran on Wednesday, provoking strong warnings from foreign experts who say that the Trump administration may be putting the U.S. on the path toward war with Iran.
In a press conference in Washington, D.C., Tillerson accused Tehran of “alarming and ongoing provocations” and comparing the country to North Korea before calling the landmark 2015 nuclear deal a failure.
“This deal represents the same failed approach of the past that brought us to the current imminent threat we face from North Korea. The Trump administration has no intention of passing the buck to a future administration on Iran,” Tillerson said during a Thursday press conference.
“There is little room to interpret this statement as anything less than a proclamation of the Trump administration’s intent to scrap the nuclear deal and reset the United States on a path to war.”
—National Iranian American Council
Foreign policy experts were dismayed by the Trump administration’s ongoing aggression toward Iran. They also pointed out that Tillerson’s bombastic statements contradicted his own report to House Speaker Paul Ryan a day earlier, in which Tillerson confirmed that Iran was abiding by the terms of the deal.
“Today Secretary Tillerson and the Trump administration placed the security of the American people and the world at grave risk,” said the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) in response.
“Public statements lambasting the nuclear deal with Iran as a ‘failed approach’ and comparing the country with North Korea are reckless and blatantly false,” the group added. “It is nothing less than unnerving for the Secretary of State to ignore the advice of nearly all security experts, foreign and domestic, on the efficacy of the nuclear deal.”
“The administration has now said it will conduct a 90-day review of whether lifting sanctions—as required by the nuclear deal—will be in line with American national security interests,” wrote NIAC president Trita Parsi in an op-ed Thursday for the New York Times. “But that timeline is not long enough to save the deal and stop the United States and Iran from sliding dangerously back to a path toward war.”
Added Ellie Geranmayeh of the European Council on Foreign Relations, writing for Foreign Affairs: “[Trump] should remember that a more aggressive approach would carry serious risks—not least placing Tehran and Washington on a path toward confrontation that would further inflame the conflicts of one of the world’s most volatile regions.”
Parsi further observed:
If the United States reneges on its obligations under the deal, Iran is likely to follow suit and start expanding its nuclear activities—regardless of who wins the presidential elections. As Iran gets closer to possessing a nuclear weapon, the United States will once again inch closer to war. That was precisely the situation in 2012 and 2013: Faced with the realization that the United States’ sanctions policy…