Trump extends Iran sanctions relief, warns it's the last time

Trump extends Iran sanctions relief, warns it's the last time

President Trump said he was giving Europe and the USA "a last chance" to fix "terrible flaws" in the nuclear agreement signed by Iran and six world powers in 2015.

Trump announced on Friday that the US would keep the pact in place and waive sanctions against Iran for the "last time", in order to secure agreement from the US' European allies to fix its "terrible flaws". These penalties largely cut Iran out of the worldwide financial system, until they were suspended by Obama under the nuclear deal.

"We are gradually coming to the conclusion that an internal decision by the United States to leave the (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) has already been made or is close to being made", Ryabkov said in an interview with Interfax news agency.

The action is the third time Mr Trump has given a reprieve to the agreement negotiated by the Obama administration, even though he has called it "the worst deal ever".

The solidity of Iran and worldwide support for the agreement have blocked attempts by Trump and Israel to terminate this agreement or make changes to it, said the statement.

While approving the waiver on USA sanctions related to the nuclear deal, Washington announced other sanctions against 14 Iranian entities and people, including judiciary head Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, a close ally of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Washington also imposed sanctions on the head of Iran's judiciary and others. The department has linked Larijani to "the commission of serious human rights abuses" against Iranian people.

The cyber unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the Trump administration maintains has stifled social media networks that demonstrators can use to communicate, was also blacklisted.

This would not entail negotiations with Iran, the official said, but rather would be the result of talks between the United States and its European allies.

The U.S. decision in imposing new sanctions on the Iranian individuals and entities proves the U.S. government's animosity towards the great Iranian nation.

By law, the administration must certify to Congress every 90 days whether Iran is complying with a 2015 agreement it signed with the global community to limit its nuclear program.

Whatever happens in the short term, the Iranian nuclear deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Programme of Action (JCPOA) as it is called, is beginning to resemble the stricken Iranian oil tanker now adrift and blazing between China and Japan, which will sink or become a burnt-out hulk of no use to anyone. Trump is expected to reaffirm the agreement next week.

A decision to withhold a waiver would have effectively ended the deal that limits Iran's nuclear program. This would be a more serious war than the USA and British invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003.

The White House wants European Union signatories to agree permanent restrictions on Iran's uranium enrichment.

Mnuchin, in answer to a VOA question at Thursday's White House press briefing, suggested that Trump's actions would capture the attention of Tehran.

RT: Do you think, despite his criticism of the deal, he will have the backbone to walk away from it if it's not revised to Washington's liking?

Trump on Friday avoided upending the nuclear deal with Iran that he has repeatedly disparaged, agreeing to waive key sanctions the U.S. lifted as part of the deal.

This follows previous practice, in which a reluctant president has kept the the deal but sought other ways to get tough on Iran.

"Iran's domestic repression, regional aggression and proliferation are a problem, and the challenge is trying to balance these concerns with a punitive policy", he said in a telephone interview.

What have other countries said?

They did not immediately react to Trump's demand on January 12 that they help come up with a stronger agreement.

Trump now will work with European partners on a follow-on agreement that enshrines certain triggers that the Iranian regime can not exceed related to ballistic missiles, said senior administration officials who briefed reporters on the decision. I really doubt that this ultimatum will work because you can not mix in non-nuclear and conventional issues such as Iran's ballistic missile issue with the nuclear issue because then what kind of standards will you use?

"There is no indication today that could call into doubt Iranian respect of the agreement", French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters in Brussels, after a meeting between the Europeans and their Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif. On Wednesday, however, Zarif accused the United States of implementing destructive policies.

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