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Tillerson Considering Tougher Sanctions On Iran


Although Iran has been abiding by its nuclear deal made with former President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is questioning whether to lift certain sanctions as part of that agreement.

"President Donald J. Trump has directed a National Security Council-led interagency review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that will evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the JCPOA is vital to the national security interests of the United States," an April 18 U.S. Department of State press statement read, according to CNN.

The State Department also accused Iran of being a "leading state sponsor of terror, through many platforms and methods.″

If the U.S. government refuses to remove sanctions agreed to be lifted by terms of the agreement while Iran is complying with its side of the deal, then the U.S. would be in violation of the agreement, which was signed by the U.S., Iran, Russia, China and European Union partners.

But the Trump administration is pointing to Iran's alleged involvement in other Middle East conflicts that hamper the U.S. agenda in those countries.

"Everywhere you look, if there's trouble in the region, you find Iran," Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters on April 19, according to CNN. "Right now, what we're seeing is the nations in the region and others elsewhere trying to checkmate Iran, and the amount of disruption and the amount of instability they can cause."

The Iranian government supports the Syrian government, which the U.S. military attacked with 59 missile strikes on April 6, CNBC reports.

Trump said the reason for the strike was because of allegations that the Syrian government attacked its civilians in rebel-held areas with chemical weapons on April 4.

Iran, along with Russia and the Syrian government, have called for an investigation into whether the Syrian government was responsible for the attack, according to Al Jazeera.

The Russian and Syrian governments have blamed rebels.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov condemned the U.S. attack on Syria.

"We have reiterated our position and were united in stating that the attack was an act of aggression, which blatantly violated the principles of international law and the UN Charter," Lavrov said, according to Al Jazeera. "We call on the U.S. and its allies to respect Syria's sovereignty and refrain from actions similar to what happened on April [6], and which have serious ramifications not only for regional, but also global security.″

Sources: CNN, Al Jazeera, U.S. Department of State, CNBC / Photo Credit: The Trump-Pence Transition Team/Medium

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