Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recertified Iran's compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal late Monday, but senior administration officials emphasized that Tehran is a dangerous threat to both U.S. interests and Middle East stability.
Under U.S. law, the State Department is required to recertify to Congress Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal every 90 days. Despite President Trump's harsh criticism of the agreement forged under his predecessor, it is the second such certification since he took office.
The controversial agreement, which came into force in July 2015, was ironed out among Iran, the U.S., China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the European Union.
Among other things, it requires that Tehran reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium by 98 percent, remove two-thirds of its centrifuges and remove the core of its heavy water reactor.
Senior administration officials, speaking on background, said the White House remains concerned about the "very significant flaws" in the deal and criticized the Obama administration for allowing the nuclear issue to become "the tail that wags the Iran policy dog."
Instead, the Trump administration plans to take a broader approach to Tehran, moving forward on a strategy that addresses "the totality of Iran's behavior," including its missile development, support for terrorism and the Syrian regime, as well as its human rights record, including as well as the "arbitrary detention" of American citizens, a reference the arrest of Xiyue Wang, 37, who a Chinese-born U.S. citizen studying at Princeton University.