Trump Holds Back on Iran Sanctions

The landmark 2015 deal curbed Iran's nuclear ambitions in return for the relaxing of punishing sanctions

The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has repeatedly found Iran is complying with those obligations.

Trump said on Friday he would waive nuclear sanctions on Iran for the last time to give the United States and European allies a final chance to amend the pact.

Three officials said the waivers will be accompanied by other, targeted sanctions on Iran for human rights abuses and a stern warning that Trump will pull out of the nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration if fixes aren't made by spring.

White House is working with Congress on a USA legislation, which seeks provisions to permanently prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and subject Iran's long-range missile program to severe sanctions. The president also said a new deal must have no expiration date, and that it must impose sanctions if Iran develops or tests long-range missiles. The nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, does not address Iran's ballistic missile program.

What are the new sanctions?

Despite the Iran nuclear deal, the United States has kept on slapping separate sanctions on Iran, accusing the country of having a ballistic missiles program as well as human rights abuses. The Treasury Department placed sanctions on the head of the Iranian judiciary and a notorious prison.

He was among those calling for a crackdown following a recent spate of anti-government protests across Iran.

Though Trump did not reimpose sanctions on Iran for now, his "ultimatum" still cast a dark cloud over the future of the 2015 nuclear deal, as both Iran and European countries have showed little interest in renegotiating the pact.

In particular, placing judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani on the sanctions list "crossed all red lines of conduct in the worldwide community... and the government of the United States will bear responsibility for all the consequences of this hostile move".

The Iranian nuclear deal was drawn up in 2015 under former President Barack Obama, with Iran, the USA and five other nations.

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Those countries have vowed not to bolt the agreement even if the US pulls out, but Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Thursday that "Iran's continued compliance [is] conditioned on full compliance by the U.S".

What is the nuclear deal? European powers say that the accord is vital for global security.

In return, decades of global and USA nuclear-related sanctions were suspended.

The US Congress requires the president to approve sanctions waivers related to the deal - signed by Iran, the US, the UK, Russia, France, Germany, China and the European Union - every 120 days. Trump wants the bans to be permanent. This follows previous practice, in which a reluctant president has kept the U.S.in the deal but sought other ways to get tough on Iran.

Parsi added that Trump's actions contradict an obligation under the accord to refrain from interfering with the implementation of the sanctions relief required under the deal.

The US president declared in October that the agreement was "one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into", and warned that within a few years Iran would be able to "sprint towards a rapid nuclear weapons breakout".

"The idea is they (should) never expire", a senior administration official, speaking anonymously, said of the restrictions in briefing reporters ahead of the announcement.

West believes that Iran could use that decision to restart its own nuclear program and that would encourage other countries in that region to do the same thing.

USA 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.

French President Emmanuel Macron phoned Mr Trump on Thursday to call for "the strict application of the deal and the importance of all the signatories to respect it".

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