Tillerson: ‘Unchecked’ Iran Could Follow North Korea’s Path

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday the United States will conduct a “comprehensive review” of its policy toward Iran, including the 2016 nuclear deal, which he said had merely delayed Iran’s goal of becoming a nuclear state.

“This deal represents the same failed approach of the past that brought us to the current imminent threat we face in North Korea,” Tillerson said. “The Trump administration has no intention of passing the buck to a future administration on Iran. The evidence is clear Iran’s provocative actions threaten the U.S., the region and the world.”

Tillerson notified Congress on Tuesday that despite finding that Iran was meeting the terms of the deal, the Trump administration was reviewing whether to break from the agreement, saying in part that Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terrorism.

Wednesday, Tillerson ticked off what he called the abuses of the Islamic Republic point by point, accusing Iran of sponsoring terrorism in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon and against Israel.

Other grievances included the harassment of U.S. naval vessels, the conducting of cyber-attacks, the arbitrary detention of foreigners, including U.S. citizens, and the carrying out of ballistic missile tests in violation of U.N. resolutions.

The Iran nuclear deal, which went into effect in January 2016, was an agreement among five world powers — Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — and Iran. Although billions of dollars of Iran’s assets were unfrozen in exchange for Iran’s curbing its nuclear program, U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic because of its support of terrorism weren’t lifted.

Iran has been on the annual U.S. list of countries supporting terrorism since 1984, and as of 2015 it was determined to be the “foremost state sponsor of terrorism,” above Syria and Sudan.

Countries designated on the list are subject to specific U.S. sanctions, but how exactly has Iran supported terrorism around the world?

According to the most recent State Department report, the Islamic Republic of Iran provides a range of support to terrorist groups, “including financial, training, and equipment.” Most notably, that support is directed through the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, also known as the Quds Force (IRGC-QF), and the foreign terrorist organisation, Hezbollah. Visit NBC to read more.

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If honestly, I am no longer surprised by contradicting statements of Donald Trump which make little or no sense because there are plenty of evidence confirming that his mentality is completely disconnected from the reality.

However, according to this Article, I must admit that the statement made by Rex Tillerson did surprise me. Who would think that a person who was a leader of one of the most, if not the most, influential oil and gas company would demonstrate clear inability to assess his own performance.

I would assume that his statement on Iran was made, possibly, as a result of contagious nature of Donald Trump’s forgetfulness syndrome which leads to self-contradicting announcements. It seems that the side effect of this syndrome is lack of ability for self-assessment. At least it explains why Tillerson said that Trump’s administration does not want to pass “the buck to a future administration… “

Just couple of days ago, Secretary of State and the President of the United States, almost simultaneously, have made public statements on the same very important subject matter but contained polarising messages. This alone, without “the story about lost ship”, was an alarming signal that current administration has sever communication problem. 

Moreover, since these two official statements were not duly synchronised, it is another disturbing signal indicating that Donald Trump, Rex Tillerson and, I would assume, the rest members of the current administration have no knowledge neither on issues related to international politics nor organisational skills.

If we take into account what consequences might have followed such irresponsible stream of actions and unprecedented absence of professionalism, it also means that these people do not care about safety of international community in particular and global stability in general. 

Considering recent examples showing how “experienced” members of this administration actually are, I would like to have answers for couple of questions.

If Iran is in compliance with the agreement, wouldn’t it be possible that there is a change of political view. Due to a the previously imposed sanctions, Iran’s economy has sustained significant damage. The leadership of Iran might have realised that for them to rejoin the world community they have to play by the rules. Unless it is proven otherwise, the assumption that such change may indeed take place is reasonable.

Question 1: Considering the recent confirmation by the Trump’s administration regarding Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, what are the reasons for “comprehensive review”?

Most likely, there was absolutely nothing which would show that Iran even slightly breached terms and condition of the agreement. If Iran would not follow it precisely, I have no doubt that Trump would not issue the confirmation. Therefore, it is important to have clarity on what is the basis for this decision as it seems strange that the issue of Iran pops up now. Is it another impulsive move? 

Question 2: Is Trump’s administration planning to share the details which would shed the light on what aspects or components and their content will constitute such “comprehensive review”?

I believe it is essential to know the details because by now the world had quite a few chances to learn that this administration knows nothing. To think that they can deal with major geopolitical issues without harming the world, would be stupid.

The details will also be necessary because, besides the United States and Iran,  the deal was signed by Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. Therefore, it is a concern that the U.S. administration decided to conduct this review, taking into account that both confrontations – Syria and North Korea – initiated by Trump have not delivered anything accept dramatic escalation of international tensions.

Donald Trump have demonstrated many times his incapacity to deal with complicated international political issues involving other countries with opposite interests. Since Iran is backed by Russia, it is logical to assume that we shall expect further deterioration.

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There is no evidence, of course, but the other possibility is that Rex Tellirson might have something in mind.

If the U.S. administration could craft its policies towards Iran in such manner which could lead to partial restrictions to limit access of Iranian crude oil to international markets or impose a total ban, it would be possible to eliminate more than 3 million barrels a day from the overall global supply. By doing so, the oil prices will be automatically recovered in an instant.

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Once the oil prices are recovered, it would be possible to fix damaged financial position of ExxonMobil and many other U.S. shale oil producers as well as majors from European countries. Otherwise, it is clear the the sustained low crude oil price environment might become a permanent feature. With low oil prices, the future of US and European oil companies is unlikely to be bright.

Whatever the reason is for “comprehensive review”, in order to have global stability, American people shall make sure that this administration is never left “unchecked”.

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