Trump says he's extending Iran sanctions relief for last time

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson left and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis right listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House Wednesday Jan. 10 2018 in Washington

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". It is also critical that the United States remains part of the deal, they said.

Responding to Trump's speech late yesterday, Zarif tweeted: "Rather than repeating exhausted rhetoric, U.S. must bring itself into full compliance - just like Iran".

Trump announced on Friday that the US would keep the pact in place and waive sanctions against Iran for the "last time", in order to secure agreement from the US' European allies to fix its "terrible flaws".

"This is a last chance".

The U.S. Congress requires the president to decide periodically whether to certify Iran's compliance with the deal and issue a waiver to allow U.S sanctions to remain suspended. "And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately".

RT: Why has Trump extended the sanctions relief for Iran if he is so opposed to the deal?

"We are gradually coming to the conclusion that an internal decision by the U.S. to leave the JCPOA has already been made or is close to being made", Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Interfax news agency. The Treasury Department placed sanctions on the head of the Iranian judiciary and a notorious prison.

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.

Under the new sanctions, any assets that the people or entities have within US jurisdiction will be frozen and Americans will be barred from doing business with them.

The entities sanctioned include Iran's Supreme Council of Cyberspace and its subsidiary, the National Cyberspace Center, which police the Internet, restricting access to websites that challenge the government.


The Iranian statement said the targeting of one of the officials, judiciary chief Sadegh Amoli Larijani, "crossed all behavioral red lines of the worldwide community".

"In absence of such an agreement [between the USA and European powers], the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal". So the deal has now survived year one of Trump's presidency, and my hunch is that it will continue to do so in year two and the remainder of Trump's presidency, for a good reason - because it is in the national interest of the United States, it is a win-win.

Many European leaders have made clear for months that they agree with worldwide inspectors that Iran is abiding by limits on its nuclear program set out in the deal it made with the USA under former President Barack Obama and five other world powers.

The EU said in a statement it had taken note of Trump's decision and would assess its implications.

The JCPOA "gave Iran far too much in exchange for far too little".

The top Iranian diplomat said the world has over the past centuries been characterized by a paradigm based on power and zero-sum games, "which has had no result for the people of the world but loss, violence, conflict, and killings".

On the streets of Tehran, many have grown cynical and exasperated by the endless pressure from the United States.

"The nuclear deal is an internationally recognized and concluded pact and is not renegotiable", the Foreign Ministry in Tehran said in a statement Saturday.

Iran says its nuclear programme has only peaceful aims and that it will stick to the accord as long as others respect it. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also noted that no one has put forward a plan that might be as effective in curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions.

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