Iran calls fresh USA sanctions illegal, hostile

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Describing sanctions against Larijani as "hostile action", Iran's Foreign Ministry said the move "crossed all red lines of conduct in the global community and is a violation of worldwide law and will surely be answered by a serious reaction of the Islamic Republic", state media reported.

China argues against Washington's unilateral anti-Tehran sanctions and speaks for implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, which "has not come by easily", Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang told reporters on Saturday.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter that U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement Friday that he is willing to approve new sanctions on Iran is a "desperate attempt to undermine a solid multilateral agreement".

US President Donald Trump grudgingly agreed not to reimpose nuclear sanctions on Iran on January 12, 2018, but officials warned that it would be the last time he issues such a waiver.

"Today, I am waiving the application of certain nuclear sanctions, but only in order to secure our European allies' agreement to fix the bad flaws of the Iran nuclear deal", Mr Trump said. In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal.

The deal on Iran's nuclear program was reached between Iran and six worldwide mediators (the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Russia, the United States, and France) on July 14, 2015. And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately.

The Trump administration has accused Iran of fomenting instability and violence across the Mideast, and the president's decision gives the White House and Congress more time to forge legislation punishing the country for that behavior without directly ending the nuclear accord that Iran reached with the US and five other world powers.

U.S. allies including the United Kingdom and France have repeatedly defended the agreement and said Iran continues to comply with the accord and they, too, intend to do so.

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The waiver has to do with the Joint Commission Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal.

Additionally, the Treasury Department imposed new measures that target Iranian businesses and individuals for human rights abuses.

The sanctions Trump had to waive Friday dealt with Iran's central bank. One aspect of the law that Trump has particularly bristled at is having to give Iran a "thumbs up" every few months by acknowledging that it is meeting its nuclear requirements.

The waiver he will sign suspends sanctions for another 120 days, but he warned that if a new agreement was not made "the United States will not again waive sanctions". "It's going to be complicated to save the deal after this", said one European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Officials, congressional aides and outside administration advisers had said the president would probably extend the sanctions waivers, citing progress in the United States legislation.

The other signatories to the deal - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation - and the European Union, which oversaw the talks, were watching carefully. But supporters of the existing deal between Iran and six world powers, including the former officials in Barack Obama's administration who negotiated it, denounced Trump's plan.

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

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