United States to continue with Obama-era Iran nuclear deal, for now

Posted May 19, 2017

The deal doesn't prohibit the USA or other countries from imposing new sanctions on Iran for its missile program, terrorism or other reasons, although Tehran has threatened to pull out of the deal if the US and other countries do so.

An Iranian Foreign Ministry statement said those sanctioned violated human rights through direct or indirect links to Israeli government crimes in Palestinian territories or by supporting terrorists.

Finally, Iran-based Matin Sanat Nik Andishan, a company that has provided materials useful to Iran's liquid-fueled ballistic missile program, was listed for sanctions.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.

The United States passed up a chance to reimpose sanctions on Tehran's nuclear program Wednesday, deciding to stand by an worldwide accord two days before Iran goes to the polls.

Iranian officials say the country has carried out the missile tests as part of its program to boost defense capabilities, rejecting claims that the tests were in violation of Resolution 2231.

The State Department said Iran would continue to enjoy relief from decades-old economic measures punishing Tehran for its nuclear program.

Iran criticised a fresh round of U.S. sanctions imposed on its missile programme on Thursday, warning they would undermine the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies non-profit policy group and an opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, argued that the Trump administration was pursuing a "waive and slap" approach that temporarily suspends some sanctions while imposing others.

But Washington's top diplomat for the Middle East, Stuart Jones, said the department had told Congress that "the United States continues to waive sanctions" that were lifted under the Iran deal.

"This administration is committed to countering Iran's destabilizing behavior, such as Iran's development of ballistic missiles and support to the Assad regime", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in announcing the sanctions.

Although oil sales have rebounded since the deal came into effect in January past year, Iran's continued exclusion from the worldwide banking system has prevented it from signing much-needed trade and investment deals with Europe and Asia.

In April, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Iran was complying with its side of the bargain, but described the country as the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism.

Since taking office, Trump's administration has sanctioned hundreds in Iran and in Syria — an Iranian ally — as part of a campaign to increase pressure on Iran even as it reviews the nuclear deal.

Richard Nephew, a former United States negotiator with Iran now at Columbia University, called the renewal an "important step" in maintaining the deal but said it was still threatened by "congressional pressure, Republican politics, and the views of many people" in the Trump administration.

The announcements and the report come just days before Iran holds presidential elections that pit President Hassan Rouhani against several conservative opponents.

"I think the Trump administration has come to understand that it is in our national security interest".