Zarif: Trump 'desperate' to undermine nuclear deal

Elias Hubbard
January 14, 2018

But proponents of the deal say that it forced Iran to destroy much of its nuclear equipment and allow strict inspections that prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Iran slammed US President Donald Trump's decision to target the head of its judiciary with sanctions, saying the move warrants a "severe" response.

After Tehran had implemented its part of the deal, which was confirmed during IAEA's inspection trips, on January 16, 2016 the USA administration under President Barack Obama lifted sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program. The nuclear accord doesn't directly bar missile testing. But it has also said it will "shred" the deal if Washington quits.

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.

"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.

He said the nuclear deal is "not renegotiable and rather than repeating exhausted rhetoric, the USA must bring itself into full compliance -just like Iran".

In a statement released by the US Mission to the United Nations on Friday, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley commented on Trump's decision to waive sanctions on Iran.

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". Under the new sanctions regime, the Treasury Department will target 14 officials, businessmen and companies from Iran, China and Malaysia, freezing any assets they have in the US. Those points would have to be blessed by Congress and woven into a supplemental deal forged with the US' European allies.

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.

Hailed by Obama as key to stopping Iran from building a nuclear bomb, the deal lifted economic sanctions in exchange for Tehran limiting its nuclear program but Trump has argued that Obama negotiated a bad deal.

Opponents of the deal note that it doesn't address Iran's support for militant groups or its continued missile development and that the country can use the money it gets from sanctions relief to support those destabilizing efforts.

While Trump did not levy nuclear sanctions on the regime, the administration is hitting Iran with several other sanctions for its ballistic missile activity and violent crackdown on anti-government protesters in recent weeks. "This is a last chance", he added. Whether that must come in binding action isn't clear.

Iran has dismissed US calls for the quit of missile program development, and it has stressed that its nuclear program is peaceful.

Sen. Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called Trump's statement an "ultimatum" and said the president is "making negotiations with Europe more hard by the way he's laying out the conditions". "Instead, I have outlined two possible paths forward: either fix the deal's disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw".

Lawmakers in Washington have divisions about how to proceed.

In his statement Friday, Trump said he remained open to revising the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, or INARA.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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