Trump Reluctant to Waive Iran Sanctions, as Friday Deadline Approaches

Frederick Owens
January 12, 2018

The US and European Union say Iranian ballistic missile tests conducted in the past year have violated UN Security Council resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear deal.

Under the accord, Iran slowed its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of global economic sanctions.

On the eve of a deadline for U.S.

Mr. Kamalvandi's comments came as European powers prepared to meet Thursday to reaffirm their support for the accord.

The nuclear deal reached between Iran and the six world powers of Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany in July 2015 resulted in the removal of global and western sanctions against Iran in return for the strict monitoring of the country's nuclear program.

The meeting comes one day before a US deadline requiring President Donald Trump to once again decide whether the USA will continue backing the deal.

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The 2015 deal stipulates that the White House must make a decision every four months on whether to keep the broad-based sanctions waivers in place. "With relief on sanctions from USA and EU, Iran is biding its time, reaping the benefits from the deal and accruing assets until it is free to resume its prolific activities".

Trump on January 12 is facing another quarterly deadline for certifying whether Iran is in compliance with the deal.

Some analysts have argued that a full Trump administration withdrawal from the deal could be disastrous for US relations with European allies, who've sought more eagerly than Washington to invest in Iran over the past two years. USA officials told CNN that the President's top national security advisers are encouraging him to renew the waivers. Some of those more targeted measures could be leveled against firms and individuals whose sanctions were scrapped in the 2015 accord.

Critics of the deal in Congress have also proposed amending legislation to ensure that United States sanctions would "snap back" automatically if Iran carried out certain actions.

While EU foreign-policy chiefs acknowledged that "other issues" exist, including Iran's role in regional tensions, its ballistic-missile program and its human-rights record, their toned-down rhetoric starkly contrasted with Trump's recent tweets encouraging the protests against a "brutal and corrupt" Iranian regime. The State Department said on Tuesday the Trump administration was expected to decide on Friday. He said France remained dedicated to the agreement.

"None of U.S. allies in the region give the same rights to their people and interestingly neither USA government nor United States congress are anxious about lack of democracy in these countries", said the Iranian top diplomat referring to Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain which are ruled by monarchs with no parliament and election in their political system.

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