US extends Iran nuke sanctions relief, adds other sanctions

Claudine Rigal
Mai 20, 2017

President Donald Trump waived nuclear sanctions on Iran, keeping in place the Iran nuclear deal he has derided, but added new sanctions relating to Iran's testing of ballistic missiles.

The State Department said Iran would continue to receive relief from decades-old economic measures punishing Tehran for its nuclear program. The agreement involved the US, the United Kingdom, the EU, Russia, China and Germany.

The congressional push coincides with the launch of an organization backed by former Obama officials, with Secretary of State John Kerry at the fore, many of whom are vocal opponents of the sanctions legislation. However since assuming the presidency, he has tempered his position, suggesting that he is studying the accord with an eye for its details, and that he is yet to reach a final position on its contents.

The United States has sanctioned two Iranian defence officials, an Iranian company, a Chinese individual and a group of Chinese firms due to their support for Iran's ballistic missile programme, according to a US Treasury Department statement on Wednesday. Those sanctions will target military officials, according to the Treasury Department, as well as a China-based network accused of supplying ballistic missile material to Iran.

Trump administration officials say the White House is carrying out a comprehensive review of US policy on Iran, which is focused on what officials consider Tehran's expanding influence in the region.

The United States claims that Iran's missile tests violated Resolution 2231, which was adopted in July 2015 to endorse the nuclear agreement.

The waiver for these sanctions must be resigned every 120 days. Iran is buying 20 of the ATR 72-600 planes.

The deal is also controversial inside the Trump administration, with some officials pushing for the U.S. to walk away from the agreement and others urging more restraint.

Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying."Iran condemns United State's unacceptable ill will in its effort to undermine the positive outcome of Tehran's commitment to implement the nuclear deal by adding individuals to its list of unilateral and illegal sanctions".

"We urge our partners around the world to join us in calling out individuals and entities who violate worldwide sanctions targeting Iran's human rights abuses", Jones said.

The White House is now reviewing US policy toward Iran.

But Raisi, considered a potential successor to Khamenei, has gained ground by accusing Rouhani of not capitalizing on the agreement and, by extension, blaming him for the deepening poverty and rising unemployment afflicting a country that is awash with oil deals since nuclear sanctions were lifted.

The US is continuing to review whether it should continue honouring the nuclear deal.

Rouhani, who is seen as the frontrunner in unofficial polls, has vowed to work towards the removal of remaining sanctions.

The timing is meant to show a hard stance on Iran - even as the administration continues to comply with the Iran nuclear deal.

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