Trump expected to extend waiver on Iran sanctions

Trump expected to extend waiver on Iran sanctions

Brussels-European powers will reaffirm on Thursday their support for the Iran nuclear deal that Donald Trump has rejected, EU diplomats said, on the eve of a deadline for the USA president to decide whether to reimpose oil sanctions lifted under the agreement.

The restrictions could hit some firms and individuals whose sanctions were previously scrapped.

Opponents of the Iranian regime are also critical of the deal because they say it does not punish the Islamic Republic for human rights abuses and its sponsorship of militias across the Middle East.

Under Secretary of State Steve Goldstein told reporters he expected Trump to decide on whether to continue sanctions relief for Iran on Thursday but was not sure if the decision would be announced Thursday night or Friday.

Vice President Mike Pence meanwhile said Trump's administration would stand with the protesters in 'their hour of need'.

The decision, first reported by the Associated Press, keeps the United States in the Iran deal, at least for the time being, despite Trump's suggestion past year that he was inclined to walk away from it.

USA president Donald Trump has chose to extend sanctions relief for Iran, leaving the 2015 nuclear accord intact and giving the White House and Congress more time to forge legislation imposing new restrictions on the Islamic Republic, according to a person familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called Trump's remarks "extremely negative", RIA state news agency reported.

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Speaking ahead of an expected announcement from the Trump administration this week on whether it will keep sanctions on Iran suspended in line with the 2015 deal, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Thursday appealed to USA allies to "scrupulously abide by" its commitments.

Meanwhile, the administration is trying to secure a face-saving fix from Congress on the requirement for Trump to address Iran's compliance every three months.

While approving the waiver on USA sanctions related to the nuclear deal, Washington announced other sanctions against 14 Iranian entities and people, including judiciary head Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, a close ally of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The US president says he wants to amend the deal - or withdraw from it completely.

Diplomacy Works, a pressure group set up by former secretary of state John Kerry to defend the deal, was scathing.

The EU said it would hold internal consultations and was "committed to the continued full and effective implementation" of the deal. Basically, one side is benefiting from the JCPOA, but it is only Iran that is upholding the promises it had made.

In October 2017, Donald Trump decertified part of the deal on these national security grounds. Steinberg told WIN, "The Iranians may stomp out in anger".

The president once again waived economic sanctions that were explicitly tied to Iran's nuclear program and were eased under the accord. It might well be enough to light the whole region on fire with renewed conflict.

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According to Steinberg, "There is always a tradeoff". What do you believe the president is going to do? He has particularly bristled at having to give Iran a "thumbs up" every few months by acknowledging that it is meeting the requirements to invest in foreign banks, sell petroleum overseas, buy USA and European aircraft, and so forth.

Trump has repeatedly railed against the nuclear accord, calling it the "worst deal ever".

Another proposal would require snapback if Iran refuses a request from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's atomic watchdog, to inspect a military site not now being monitored.

Other debates center on Iran's missile testing.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Saturday condemning the new US sanctions on a number of Iranian individuals and entities, threatening to retaliate.

In October, Trump announced that he had chose to decertify Iran's compliance with the pact. "Busy four months ahead".

To put it plainly, European allies have discovered that with a lot of pushing they can stop Mr Trump from pursuing what they consider disastrous foreign policies.

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