Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Trump Administration Upholds Iran Sanctions Waiver, Keeping Nuclear Deal Alive

Under the deal, the USA and five other world powers agreed to lift sanctions in exchange for Iran rolling back its nuclear program.

The Iranian officials sanctioned on Wednesday are Morteza Farasatpour and Rahim Ahmadi.

While the USA says it will continue waiving these sanctions, it is ratcheting up other sanctions related to human rights abuses and the country's ballistic missile program.

The decision not to renew sanctions came just two days before Iran votes and may prove a boost for President Hassan Rouhani, who approved the nuclear deal and is seeking re-election.

The administration of President Donald Trump on Wednesday will extend sanctions relief on Iran that was called for under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, two USA officials told Reuters.

Rather than permanently repealing USA sanctions, which would have required congressional action, the Obama administration put a temporary hold on them, which must be periodically extended as long as Iran remains in compliance with the deal.

Iranian officials say the country has carried out the missile tests as part of its program to boost defense capabilities, rejecting claims that the tests were in violation of Resolution 2231.

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"The State Department will continue to partner with our colleagues at the Department of the Treasury to ensure our national security in the face of Iranian threats".

However, it will also impose some new sanctions against several Iranian individuals and four other organizations, including a China-based network that supplied missile-related items to a key Iranian defense entity, reports the Hill.

"This administration is committed to countering Iran's destabilizing behavior, such as Iran's development of ballistic missiles and support to the Assad regime", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

The moves come as Iran prepares for a presidential vote on Friday whose outcome has major implications for Iran's future stance toward the USA and its likelihood of sticking with the deal.

Rouhani placed much of his political capital on the nuclear accord and better relations with the West, promising that it would improve the economy and end Iran's global isolation.

According to Reuters, the move lets Trump appear tough on Iran while not violating the 2015 agreement.

As a candidate in the 2016 presidential election, Trump frequently criticized the JCPOA as "the worst deal ever negotiated", but offered conflicting opinions on whether he would try to scrap it, renegotiate its terms or keep it in place. Iran continues to pursue missile-related technologies capable of delivering a nuclear weapon. "I don't think they love it, and they think they could have done better", she said "(The safeguards mean) that all of our options, to reimpose sanctions or to take military action, remain in our hands, and we will have enough time to use any of those tools and more if we decide that they are trying to break out".

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