US extends Iran nuclear sanctions relief


Trump as a candidate vowed to renegotiate or tear up the nuclear deal.

In a sign of the president's deep ambivalence toward the nuclear accord and Iran more broadly, the Treasury Department slapped sanctions on seven entities allegedly tied to the missile program, including senior Iranian defense officials and a China-based entity. The Obama administration did so in mid January, forcing the Trump administration to decide by Wednesday whether to renew them or to put the wider Iran deal at risk.

Wendy Sherman, who served as undersecretary of State for political affairs from 2011 to 2015, said that the nuclear deal allows the use "all options" if Iran were to backpedal on the deal.

But continuing the sanctions relief requires the renewal of a six-month waiver.

Mr Trump has consistently warned Iran over its missile activity, and has criticised the terms of the deal made by Mr Obama - at one point claiming his "number one priority" if elected would be "to dismantle the disastrous deal".But the other nations involved in the agreement - including China, Russia, and the United Kingdom - believe it is the best way to prevent Iran getting a nuclear weapon. "Yet, the administration continues to stand in the way of what is legitimate trade with Iran, which the agreement obligates the United States not to do", Parsi added. Iran is buying 20 of the ATR 72-600 planes.

The White House has also increased other sanctions against Iran that were still in place but relaxed.

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"The related new missile sanctions are similar to the ones that the Obama Administration had imposed and that the Trump Administration imposed earlier this year and so do not represent a drastically different view on Iran between the two Administrations".

Mark Dubowitz, an Iran expert and head of the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which advocates for a tough USA position on Iran, said the latest steps were part of a "much more comprehensive strategy to use all instruments of American power to roll back Iranian regional aggression" and to "rectify what the administration sees as a deeply flawed nuclear deal". No incumbent president has failed to win re-election since 1981, when Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's current supreme leader, became president himself. "JCPOA" is the formal name of the nuclear deal. Analysts have said that his extension of the sanctions is indicative of his tacit intention to let the deal remain.

Every 90 days, the US president must certify for Congress that Iran is fully compliant with the JCPOA to ensure that the economic sanctions can continue to be waivered.

"The deal won't go anywhere next week", said Suzanne Maloney, an Iran analyst at the Brookings Institution. It also comes ahead of Trump's five-day trip to the region.

Information for this article was contributed by Josh Lederman of The Associated Press and by Carol Morello of The Washington Post.