Trump administration renews Iran sanctions waivers

A ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location Iran in this handout

North Korea possesses nuclear weapons, and many western countries as well as security experts suspect that Iran harbours designs to acquire atomic arms for itself, in addition to its suspected arsenal of chemical weapons that were produced during the 1980s. It was renewed today.

"In addition to the actions taken today, we are communicating to the US Congress that the United States continues to waive sanctions as required to continue implementing US sanctions-lifting commitments in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action", the statement said. At the same time, Trump dispatched Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to issue a scathing critique of Iran in which he also cast doubt that the nuclear deal would achieve its objective of keeping Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

Iran, which has been accused of exposing sectarian fault lines in the region, especially in Yemen, Syria and Iraq, tried to soften its rhetoric as Rouhani said there should be greater unity between Shiites and Sunnis and that they had coexisted side by side peacefully for hundreds of years.

The decision came just before a Friday presidential election in Iran, in which moderate President Hassan Rouhani is fighting for a second term against hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi, who has called for a much tougher stance against the West.

During his campaign, Trump referred to the landmark agreement as the worst deal ever negotiated, as NPR has reported.

Shortly before Trump's January 20 inauguration, Kerry said the nuclear accord was one of Obama's policy victories and warned Trump that canceling it would harm the USA in an irreparable way.

Iran will continue its missile program in line with its "inalienable and legal right" to upgrade the country's defensive capabilities, according to Islamic Republic's foreign ministry. Were the United States to try to reimpose those sanctions, it would likely be opposed by the rest of the world and by business interests here in the United States.

Ruan Runling, a Chinese national, and three Chinese companies were sanctioned for their proliferation activities in support of a key designated Iranian defence entity, the Treasury statement said.

Also, some of the waivers were set to expire this week unless they were extended by President Trump.

The Trump administration's wavering of the most punitive sanctions that it imposed on Iran before the deal was struck could be its way of trying to embolden the Rouhani camp.

Iran contends the sanctions are a breach of a deal it reached in July 2015 with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, which permits Iran to use nuclear power for civilian purposes in return for dropping sanctions.

Also under USA sanctions hit the Iranian company Iranian Novini System Management.



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