Trump extends Iran nuclear deal, but issued a stern warning to Congress

Erika Holt
January 14, 2018

President Donald Trump extended the Iran nuclear deal Friday, but indicated this is the last time he would do so unless Congress and European allies agree to revamp the deal within six months.

Describing sanctions against Larijani as "hostile action", the foreign ministry said the move "crossed all the red lines of conduct in the worldwide community". Specifically, Trump has called for a removal of "sunset clauses" in the deal, which allow Iran to slowly restart nuclear efforts throughout the next decade.

In a statement, Trump says the US will would work with European partners to resolve flaws in the nuclear deal by trying to negotiate a follow-up agreement.

President Trump on Friday faced a deadline on whether to kill the 2015 nuclear agreement negotiated by the Obama administration and five other nations, and reinstate the sanctions against the Islamic Republic, or keep it in place, despite the fact that he views as faulty and unsafe.

Although Trump approved the waiver on US sanctions as spelled out in the deal, Washington announced other sanctions against 14 Iranian entities and individuals, including judiciary head Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, a close ally of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran said it would neither accept changes or new obligations.

This would not entail negotiations with Iran, the official added, but rather would be the result of talks between the United States and its European allies.

US officials said the new sanctions were for human-rights abuses by the Iranian regime during its response to civil protests, and for weapons proliferation.

"By deliberately creating uncertainty at every three month deadline as to whether the US will honor its commitments, Trump makes it impossible for sanctions relief to move forward as promised under the accord", he said in a statement.

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Meanwhile, on his official Twitter account, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Trump's decision undermined the multilateral agreement.

By imposing a deadline in May for the U.S. Congress and European powers to strengthen the nuclear accord, Trump's declaration puts considerable pressure on Britain, France and Germany - the European signatories to the nuclear pact with Iran.

Trump said:"This is a last chance".

The news will be cautiously welcomed by British leaders and European Union figures who have lobbied hard to keep the Iran nuclear deal in place.

Third, unlike the nuclear deal, these provisions must have no expiration date.

The violent street protests that have spread throughout much of Iran in recent weeks seemed like effective pretext for Trump to reimpose sanctions, since he could argue that Iran's sclerotic regime was on its last legs, and that the US had even less reason than normal to prop it up.

During his presidential campaign and into his term of office, Trump has said he opposes the deal, claiming that Tehran has violated the "spirit" of the accord.

Trump and his top advisers have been negotiating with United States lawmakers on Capitol Hill to try to change sanctions legislation so that he does not face a deadline on whether to recertify Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal every 90 days.

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