Trump keeps USA in Iran nuclear deal, but levies more sanctions

Elias Hubbard
January 13, 2018

Under the deal, Iran agreed to halt its nuclear weapons development program in exchange for the lifting of global sanctions on the Islamic republic.

Trump said he had reluctantly agreed to extend the waivers only in order to secure the support of America's European allies to fix the agreement.

The fear among European allies is that ripping up the deal erases any incentive Tehran might have to keep restrictions in place on its nuclear program.

Iran, despite repeatedly claiming its nuclear programme is only for peaceful purposes, has vowed to "shred" the deal if Washington pulls out. Under the current deal they are set to expire in 2025.

"Instead, I have outlined two possible paths forward: either fix the deal's disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw".

Trump has argued that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, a Democrat, negotiated a bad deal for the United States in agreeing to the nuclear accord. Its framework includes stipulations that Iran would redesign, convert and reduce its number of nuclear facilities in order to lift nuclear-related economical sanctions, which would reportedly free up billions of dollars in oil revenue and frozen assets for Iran.

Trump said this is the last chance, and in the absence of an agreement, the U.S. would not remain a party to the deal.

The next deadline to waive sanctions under the agreement is the middle of May.

The White House wants a deal with European Union signatories to make restrictions on Iran's uranium enrichment permanent.

This would involve negotiations between the U.S. and its European allies rather than talks with Iran, the official said.

As part of an agreement with Congress, the president has to sign a waiver suspending the sanctions every 120 days.

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif responded to Trump's statement on Twitter, saying that it "amounts to desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement". A White House spokesperson says that deal should address Tehran's ballistic missile program, tighten inspections, eliminate the agreement's sunset clauses and limit Iran to a one year breakout to obtain a nuclear weapon. The waivers the president issued Friday make it easier for banks around the world to do business with Iran and for Iran to sell oil.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker has been working on amending a USA law to include "trigger points" that if crossed by Iran would automatically bring back U.S. sanctions.

"The United States will not stand by while the Iranian regime continues to engage in human rights abuses and injustice", Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement.

Iran's foreign ministry said on Tuesday that if the U.S. withdrew from the agreement, it was ready to give an "appropriate and heavy response".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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