JCPOA Not Renegotiable, Trump Making 'Desperate' Attempt: Iran's Zarif

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If the president can get an agreement that "never expires", in place of the sunset clauses now in the JCPOA, then, "he would be open to remaining in such a modified deal", the official said.

"Trump has once again avoided the nuclear option on the nuclear deal".

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

Responding to Trump's decision at the time, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Tehran would not cave in to USA pressure. At the same time, Trump also levied new sanctions against Iran and said this is the last such waiver he'll sign unless "significant flaws" in the current deal are addressed.

"We are gradually coming to the conclusion that an internal decision by the U.S. to leave the JCPOA has already been made or is close to being made", Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Interfax news agency.

"Instead I have outlined two possible paths forward: either fix the deal's disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw", he added.

In reply, Zarif took to Twitter on Friday to condemn Trump's reluctant announcement on the nuclear sanctions waiver, saying, "Trump's policy & today's announcement amount to desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement, maliciously violating its paras 26, 28 & 29".

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Iran says its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes and that it will stick to the accord as long as the other signatories respect it, but will "shred" the deal if Washington pulls out.

Iran says the U.S. has "crossed a red line" by imposing sanctions on the head of its judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli-Larijani.

Additionally, the Treasury Department imposed new measures that target Iranian businesses and individuals for human rights abuses.

The EU said in a statement it had taken note of Trump's decision and would assess its implications. "We have been under U.S. sanctions for the last 40 years", said Farshad Alyan, a 26-year-old law student.

He was prepared to back a modification to the existing deal if it were made permanent, one official said.

This would involve negotiations between the United States and its European allies rather than talks with Iran, the official said.

The other signatories to the deal - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation - and the European Union, which oversaw the talks, were watching carefully.

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"We are also targeting Iran's ballistic missile program and destabilizing activities, which it continues to prioritize over the economic well-being of the Iranian people", he added.

Trump laid out conditions to keep Washington in the deal.

After that, the Trump administration intends to work with European partners on a type of "follow-on" agreement that includes "certain triggers" Iran must follow, including nuclear inspections and restrictions on Iran's nuclear program that have no sunset.

The waiver has to do with the Joint Commission Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal. The other parties to the agreement would have been unlikely to join the United States in reimposing sanctions.

U.S. officials say the president will work with European partners to try to broker an agreement limiting Iran's ballistic missiles activities.

Two EU diplomats said EU foreign ministers will discuss what to do now at their next regular meeting, scheduled for January 22 in Brussels.

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