U.S. extends sanctions relief under Iran nuclear deal

Cheryl Sanders
May 20, 2017

Meanwhile, former US Secretary of State John Kerry and national security experts from the administration of former President Barack Obama have thrown their weight behind a newly formed organization called "Diplomacy Works", which aims to which aims defend the nuclear deal.

The latest action against individuals and companies came on the same day as the Trump administration said it would continue to waive some sanctions against Iran, a key aspect of a deal over the country's nuclear programme negotiated by the Obama administration and five other world powers.

The Trump administration will have to waive more sanctions next month if it wants to stick by the nuclear deal.

Trump threatened to tear up the nuclear deal during his campaign and has launched a review of its terms, but until then the deal requires him to renew sanctions relief at regular intervals.

"As we continue to closely scrutinize Iran's commitment to the JCPOA and develop a comprehensive Iran policy, we will continue to hold Iran accountable for its human rights abuses with new actions", acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Stuart Jones said in Wednesday's statement. The U.S.is reviewing whether to continue honoring what President Donald Trump has called "the disgusting Iran deal".

Washington has labeled Iran as a "state sponsor of terrorism" and accuses it of sowing instability in the region through its backing of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, Hezbollah militia in Lebanon and Houthi rebels in Yemen's civil war.

The Treasury Department will sanction Iranian defense officials because of the country's ballistic missile program.

The US administration is re-evaluating its relationship with Iran, including whether to remain a party to the nuclear deal.

The newly announced American measures which are not related to the nuclear deal have been directed at seven people said to be linked to Iran's ballistic missile programme, including two senior defence officials and a China-based network that allegedly supports Iran's military.

In another attempt to ramp up pressure on Tehran, the State Department released a new report criticizing Iran for human-rights abuses, including its alleged mistreatment of prisoners. While Trump certainly views Iran with suspicion, it would much rather deal with Rouhani, who has been lauded as a "moderate" willing to deal with the West, than his conservative clerical challenger, Ebrahim Raisi.

The US says the programme is a breach of global law because the missiles could carry nuclear warheads in the future. Simultaneously, the president signed the waiver he chided his predecessor for doing that prevented old sanctions from "snapping back" into place, but added a couple of new ones as a punishment for the recent Iranian missile activity.

The Trump administration hit the ground running, re-imposing sanctions against Iran in its first weeks in office and also instating restrictions against those who are complicit with Tehran. "And they were also at the table and they still support the deal".

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