Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Trump administration keeps Iran deal alive, but with new sanctions

Trump administration keeps Iran deal alive, but with new sanctions

The U.S. will continue to "scrutinize Iran's commitment" to the nuclear deal while developing a "comprehensive Iran policy", Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Stuart Jones said in a statement.

The United States decided not to reimpose sanctions on Iran's nuclear program Wednesday despite President Donald Trump's criticism of the deal Tehran signed with the previous U.S. administration. "We urge our partners around the world to join us in calling out individuals and entities who violate global sanctions targeting Iran's human rights abuses".

Wednesday's sanctions target Iranian military officials along with an Iranian company and China-based network accused of supplying Iran with materials for ballistic missiles, the State Department said.

The new sanctions came at a sensitive time for Iran, with presidential elections just two days away.

Reached between Iran and six world powers on 14 July 2015, the nuclear deal aimed at limiting some aspect of Tehran's nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

Since taking office, the Trump administration has certified that Iran is "compliant" with the deal, but has ordered an interagency review of US-Iran policy.

To remind you, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the title of dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran designed and signed by President Obama.

The US on Wednesday renewed a waiver of the key, and most punitive, sanctions that it imposed on Iran before the nuclear deal was ultimately struck.

Iran's foreign ministry issued a statement saying that the country will continue its missile program in line with its "inalienable and legal right" to upgrade the country's defensive capabilities, the ministry's spokesman Bahram Ghasemi wrote on his Telegram channel May 18.

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 USA policy and announcing a series of narrow sanctions that fall outside the accord.

Trump expressed his lack of enthusiasm for the nuclear deal brokered under his predecessor Barack Obama in no uncertain terms during the USA presidential election campaign when he described undoing it as his "number one priority".

According to Reuters, some of the waivers were set to expire this week unless they were extended by the commander in chief.

Washington has maintained a raft of other sanctions related to human rights and the missile programme that continue to stifle Iran's efforts to rebuild its foreign trade.

The US State Department said however that a blockade of Iranian oil exports would remain lifted under the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran, the US and EU.

The waiver extension comes as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whose government pushed hard to achieve the deal, faces off with his rivals in the campaign run for the May 19 presidential vote.

"As long as Iran abides by its commitments, it is in the best interest of U.S. national security [for the US] to continue [to] meet its obligations under the deal and refrain from steps that undermine the agreement", Davenport said.

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