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Politics

Sec of State Tillerson warns 'unchecked Iran' could follow path of North Korea

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday the United States will conduct a "comprehensive review" of its policy toward Iran, warning that leaving the country "unchecked" could increase threats around the world.

"The Trump administration is currently conducting across the entire government a review of our Iran policy ... an unchecked Iran has the potential to follow the same path as North Korea and take the world along with it. The United States is keen to avoid a second piece of evidence that strategic patience is a failed approach," the top American diplomat said.

Tillerson told Congress late Tuesday that the White House will consider whether to break with the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal because of concerns about that country's continued support of terrorism. The Trump administration has found that Iran is currently in compliance with the agreement.

The deal, reached between Iran and six world powers during the Obama administration, put checks on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions on Tehran. As a candidate, President Donald Trump called it the "worst" deal ever negotiated.

On Wednesday, Tillerson argued that the agreement is "another example of buying off a power who has nuclear ambitions."

"We buy them off for a short period of time, and then someone has to deal with it later," the secretary of State said.

The review of the agreement will assess whether sanctions suspensions related to the deal are vital to U.S. security interests.

Press secretary Sean Spicer said earlier Wednesday that the administration is aware of "potential negative impacts" from the review.

— NBC News contributed to this report

Watch: Recap of Tillerson's comments on Iran

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