The following is an excerpt from Jonathan Marcus | April 20, 2017 | BBC.com |
Once again rhetoric and reality in the Trump administration appear to be at odds with each other.
Earlier this week, the administration certified to Congress - as it must every 90 days - that Iran was abiding by the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the formal name given to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
But the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, later underlined that his country's policy towards Iran was under full-scale review.
And in a message that will be heard loud and clear in Tehran, he castigated Iran's "alarming and ongoing provocations" and described the country as "the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism".
There was a broader warning, too. "An unchecked Iran," he said, "has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea".
So is the Trump administration behaving inconsistently? Well, probably not.
Certifying that Iran is upholding its end of the bargain does not preclude a fundamental US policy review - one that would be normal for any incoming administration, and, given the personnel surrounding US President Donald Trump, is likely to be far from sympathetic to Tehran.
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