Trump administration says Iran complying with nuclear deal

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday sent a letter to Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. certifying the compliance with the 2015 deal, which exchanges sanctions relief for a rollback of Iran's nuclear program.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known more commonly as "the Iran deal", was the result of negotiations between former President Barack Obama, members of the United Nation's Security Council, Germany, and the EU.

Tuesday's determination suggested that while Trump agreed with findings by the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, that Iran is keeping to its end of the bargain, he is looking for another way to ratchet up pressure on Tehran.

"A comprehensive Iran policy requires we address all of the threats posed by Iran and it is clear there are many", Tillerson told reporters at the state department.

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The pivotal deal between Iran and six major powers restricts Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of worldwide oil and financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

The U.S. has long accused Iran of supporting terrorism in countries such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen - as well as backing Lebanese group Hezbollah. "I think that the role of financial institutions in the implementation of the agreement will be a very burning issue", he said, adding, "Now the process of unfreezing economic relations against Iran is going on as part of lifting of multilateral sanctions".

The deal stipulates that the State Department must notify Congress every 90 days regarding Iran's compliance. Tillerson's letter is the first notification under the Trump administration. Last month Secretary of Defense James Mattis called Iran the "world's biggest sponsor of state terrorism". Congress has already passed bills extending sanctions against Iran, while the US Treasury has announced further sanctions against those closely linked to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its clandestine network of global operatives.

Iran has yet to comment on the Trump administration's review, but Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei warned in November that Tehran would retaliate if the United States breached the nuclear agreement. That could mean "incredibly strict implementation" of the nuclear deal, such as holding them accountable for even minor breaches for the agreement.