China protests 'unhelpful' US sanctions on Iran

Vincent Carr
May 19, 2017

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.

Trump expressed his lack of enthusiasm for the nuclear deal brokered under his predecessor Barack Obama in no uncertain terms during the US presidential election campaign when he described undoing it as his "number one priority". In a retaliation move, Iran added nine Americans and companies to its own list of 15 USA companies for human rights violations and cooperation with Israel.

"They want to send a signal that is: 'don't count on us sticking to the deal, don't think everything is OK, '" said Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council and a strong supporter of the nuclear agreement negotiated between Iran and major world powers.

Tellingly, news of the nuclear sanctions waiver was only mentioned in the fourth paragraph of a State Department media note titled "US State Department Issues Report on Human Rights Sanctions on Iran".

During his fiery presidential election's campaign, Trump threatened to tear up the nuclear deal and launched a review of its terms.

Rouhani has gone further, vowing to end all remaining sanctions still imposed for human-rights abuses, ballistic missile tests and terrorism support.

The updated list of sanctioned American firms and individuals will be released after obtaining approval by relevant Iranian authorities.

The move came despite U.S. President Donald Trump's extension of sanctions relief for Iran under the 2015 nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - JCPOA - reached between Iran and the P5+1 group. Critics in Iran have complained that the deal has not produced sufficient economic benefits, and critics in the United States say it rewarded Iran without long-term guarantees to prevent Tehran from securing nuclear weapons.

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Referring to Iran as "the number one terrorist state", the US president said the Middle Eastern country supplies money and weapons to terrorist groups.

Under the 2015 deal, the US and other world powers eased sanctions after the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran had taken a series of steps to pull its nuclear program back from the brink of weapons capability. The U.S. said his network helped produce electronics such as missile guidance for Iran's program.

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.

"The deal won't go anywhere next week", said Suzanne Maloney, an Iran analyst at the Brookings Institution. "It is more of a status quo/continuation of what Obama was doing".

The Trump administration signaled on Wednesday that it would not, for now, jettison the Iran nuclear deal, despite the president's harsh criticism of the agreement during the campaign.

"The announcement shows that the State Department, for the time being, will continue to abide by the JCPOA while still policing it aggressively just as had been the case under the Obama Administration", Ward said.

"There are several proposals in Senate to toughen sanctions against Iran".

"I oppose this legislation".

Other reports by BadHub

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