Iran calls fresh U.S. sanctions illegal, hostile

The Nation

"Despite my strong inclination, I have not yet withdrawn the United States from the Iran nuclear deal".

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.

The ultimatum puts pressure on Europeans, key backers of the 2015 nuclear deal, to satisfy Trump, who wants the pact strengthened with a separate agreement within 120 days. The agreement was reached during Barack Obama's presidency. "We are also targeting Iran's ballistic missile program and destabilizing activities, which it continues to prioritize over the economic well-being of the Iranian people".

The EU said in a statemen t on Friday that it had taken note of Trump's decision and would assess its implications.

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

Additionally, the president is hoping that the Iran deal will require better United Nations inspections of Iran's nuclear sites and that Iran avoid a "breakout period" of being able to produce enough uranium for a nuclear bomb.

Under the deal, the US President must sign a waiver suspending the US sanctions on Iran every 120 days.

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However, Israel's leader, a fierce critic of the deal, told Macron that changing the nuclear deal would increase the chances of it remaining in place.

"Iran strongly announces that it will make no measure beyond its [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] commitments and will make no changes in the nuclear deal neither now nor in the future", the foreign ministry said. The White House wants to negotiate instead with its European colleagues on imposing multilateral sanctions should Iran violate terms produced from those proposed transatlantic talks. It says it will stick to the agreement as long as the other signatories respect it but will "shred" it if Washington pulls out. However, Trump did not to contest Tehran's compliance with the deal at the worldwide level.

"We are gradually coming to the conclusion that an internal decision by the USA to leave the (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) has already been made or is close to being made", Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with Interfax news agency.

According to anonymous officials on a conference call with various reporters, Trump will not issue any more waivers after Friday unless specific fixes are made to the Iran deal.

The sanctions were lifted per the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement, which Trump has called "one of the worst" and "the most one-sided transaction the United States has ever entered into".

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker has been working on amending a U.S. law to include "trigger points" that if crossed by Iran would automatically bring back United States sanctions.

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