"An unchecked Iran has the potential to follow the same path as North Korea and take the world along with it", he said. The deal stank, he said then.
The evidence is clear: "Iran's provocative actions threaten the United States, the region and the world".
"Public statements lambasting the nuclear deal with Iran as a "failed approach" and comparing the country with North Korea are reckless and blatantly false".
In a press statement on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of State notified the Congress that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal, the very first such notification under the Trump administration. It is nothing less than unnerving for the Secretary of State to ignore the advice of almost all security experts, foreign and domestic, on the efficacy of the nuclear deal.
In February, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on a number of entities connected to Iran's ballistic missile program and warned the Islamic Republic it had been "put on notice" and that it was "playing with fire" afer it test-firing a medium range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, which the White House contends violated a UN Security Council resolution proscribing missiles that could carry a nuclear device. But reimposing sanctions that were explicitly tied to Iran's nuclear program - as Tillerson suggested in his announcement - would face particular opposition from European allies and give the government in Tehran grounds to walk away from the accord.
America's top diplomat sought to reinforce the notion the United States is aggressively countering Iran's destabilizing behavior throughout the Middle East, though President Trump so far has not pulled out of the deal.
However, the United States admits that Tehran is complying with the 2015 agreement.
Administration officials said the USA is looking at ways to more strictly enforce the terms of the nuclear deal and impose tougher sanctions related to Iran's activities in the Middle East, which the U.S. and its allies see as destabilizing.
"Obama's Iran policy remains in force by fiat and the inability of Iran hawks in Washington and the administration to decide exactly what to do", she said.
The 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the six world powers "fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran - it only delays their goal of becoming a nuclear state", according to Tillerson.
Iran, will meet next week in Vienna to review the pact's progress.
As a candidate in the 2016 presidential election, Trump was an outspoken critic of the deal but had offered conflicting opinions on whether he would try to scrap it, modify it or keep it in place with more strenuous enforcement.
"President Trump... has realized that tearing up a highly complex and multinational agreement is not a wise thing to do at this time", Farideh Farhi, an independent scholar and affiliate graduate faculty member at University of Hawaii-Manoa, told Reason.
"I'm glad this deal has held up to this point, and I hope it continues to hold up", said Wendy Sherman, a former undersecretary of state who was deeply involved in negotiating terms of the deal during the Obama administration. On the one hand, Trump wants to show he's being tougher than Obama toward Iran, but on the other hand, he's not yet ready to rip up the deal.