United States sticks to nuclear deal with Iran despite new sanctions

Elias Hubbard
May 20, 2017

The Iranian officials sanctioned on Wednesday are Morteza Farasatpour and Rahim Ahmadi.

The brinksmanship and its capacity to destabilize the sanctions waiver, depending upon the relationship between Trump and his Iranian counterpart after the elections, has oil traders on the edge of their seats.

Trump imposed narrow penalties on seven Iranian and Chinese people and companies regarding the Islamic Republic's ballistic missile program.

The former reality television personality has repeatedly called the agreement "the worst deal ever negotiated".

Trump also announced late Wednesday that the US didn't intend to limit Iran's ability to sell oil.

But the summit could be overshadowed by a surprise attendee: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has been indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court and shunned by the United States for the past 10 years.

Trump, who is due to visit the Middle East next week, vowed to "tear up" the nuclear deal as a candidate but since taking office in January, the administration has upheld the agreement while reviewing US policy and announcing a series of narrow sanctions that fall outside the accord. However Tillerson said the White House will "evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] is vital to the national security interests of the United States". Simultaneously, the president signed the waiver he chided his predecessor for doing that prevented old sanctions from "snapping back" into place, but added a couple of new ones as a punishment for the recent Iranian missile activity. The U.S. said his network helped produce electronics such as missile guidance for Iran's program.

Iran said on Thursday that the new U.S sanctions targeting it's ballistic missile program show "ill will" and are likely to undermine the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. It also has clinched bigger deals with trans-Atlantic rivals Airbus and Boeing.

Iranian officials say the country has carried out the missile tests as part of its program to boost defense capabilities, rejecting claims that the tests were in violation of Resolution 2231.

The State Department also released a new report criticizing Iran for human rights abuses.

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

The U.S. move comes several days before Iran's presidential election, with President Hassan Rouhani facing a challenge from several conservative opponents.

Earlier, the state Department informed the Congress that the mode of lifting of sanctions in the future is preserved.

"As we continue to closely scrutinize Iran's commitment to the JCPOA and develop a comprehensive Iran policy, we will continue to hold Iran accountable for its human rights abuses with new actions", Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Stuart Jones said on Wednesday. It also designated China-based companies that it says are supplying Iran with "missile-applicable items" and an Iran-based company that allegedly supports the country's ballistic missile program.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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