Tehran says will retaliate against Washington sanctions on chief judge

Sergio Conner
January 14, 2018

Under the hard-won 2015 deal with Russian Federation, the US, China, France, Britain, Germany and the EU, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for lifting of a raft of global sanctions. But his explicit warning to Europe that the deal must be fixed by the time the next sanctions waivers are due in the spring creates a high-stakes diplomatic deadline that will be hard to meet.

"This is a last chance", the USA president said in a statement on Friday.

Trump has already declared that he thinks the Iran nuclear deal is no longer in the United States' national interest.

Britain, France and Germany had called on Trump on Thursday to uphold the pact.

Trump's Friday announcement will "reflect frustration at European allies and at Congress" for dragging their feet over proposed legislative changes that would call for stricter enforcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Bloomberg News foreign policy reporter in Washington.

In any event, the United States is likely to impose new sanctions on Iran over human right abuses and support for foreign extremist groups rather than nuclear back-sliding. The Europeans, meanwhile, have said they are willing to discuss the matter with the USA but have shown little enthusiasm with Trump's hard line.

He further stressed that the deal is "not renegotiable" and urged Trump to, instead of repeating exhausted rhetoric, bring the United States into full compliance of the deal, just like Iran.

Trump has sharply criticized the agreement and vowed to rip it up, but his national security advisers have urged him to wait while they work with Congress and USA allies in an effort to strengthen its provisions. Trump is also waiving other US penalties covered by the agreement, including on Iran's oil and gas sectors, which were up for renewal next week.

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But Trump argues that Obama gave away too much to Iran in sanctions relief, without forcing the Islamic republic to end its ballistic missile program and support for militant groups. The Treasury Department's action hits 14 Iranian officials and companies and businessmen from Iran, China and Malaysia, freezing any assets they have in the US and banning Americans from doing business with them.

"It's incumbent on those who oppose the (deal) really to come up with that better solution, because we haven't seen it so far", he said.

Trump said on Friday he would waive nuclear sanctions against Iran for the last time to give Washington and its European allies a chance to fix the "terrible flaws" of the 2015 nuclear deal.

The president's proposals to "fix the deal's disastrous flaws" include Iran's agreement to open all sites immediately to global inspectors and an assurance from Tehran that it will never develop a nuclear weapon. "No one should doubt my word".

The Republican leader grudgingly agreed to sign sanctions waivers, ensuring Washington will live up to its commitments for another 120 days, but he cautioned it would be "for the last time".

Trump is required to renew the existing deal every 120 days under U.S. law.

"The Chinese side has also noticed that the global community widely supports the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and fully acknowledges Iran's implementation of the pact, " Lu said.

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