Published: Tue, July 18, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump Administration Sending 'Contradictory Signals' To Iran, Zarif Says

Trump Administration Sending 'Contradictory Signals' To Iran, Zarif Says

Zarif said they would discuss Iran's complaints about non-US compliance, accusing the Trump administration of failing to lift sanctions in line with the deal.

The United States is failing to implement provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) known as the Iranian nuclear deal, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the CNN broadcaster in an interview on Sunday.

McMaster was sharply critical of the Obama administration's "myopic focus on Iran's nuclear program to the exclusion of Iran's many other malign activities" and insisted that the decision to recertify the agreement is part of a policy to address "the totality of the Iran problem".

The 2015 agreement relaxed a range of US and global nuclear-related sanctions on Iran on the condition that the government in Tehran dismantle its nuclear program.

In fact, the Trump administration's moves to ratchet up non-nuclear sanctions on Iran since taking office - along with legislation that recently passed the U.S. Senate to increase non-nuclear sanctions on Iran - "creates the impression in Iran that the United States' hostility toward Iran will never end", Zarif said.

Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and "the entire administration judge that Iran is unquestionably in default of the spirit" of the agreement, one official said.

The administration also is asserting that Iran's development of ballistic missiles, support of terrorism and militancy, hostility toward Israel, complicity in atrocities by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, cyberattacks on the US, and other actions "severely undermine the intent" of the nuclear accord.

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The president also told his national security team he would not keep certifying the deal indefinitely, reports said. "I think his advisers do and they were tasked with finding a way to scrap it without causing a crisis, without isolating the United States", he said.

Iran in the past has complained that U.S. administration has failed to lift sanctions in line with the deal.

The certification of Iran's compliance must be pitched to Congress every 90 days.

"We judge that these Iranian activities severely undermine the intent" of the agreement as a force for global stability, one official said.

But the day came and went with no such announcement, although officials said they expected more sanctions would eventually be coming.

Based on those actions, Mr. Trump is announcing an additional package of sanctions against 16 Iranian entities and individuals found to be supporting Tehran's activities in the region. In any case, neither Tillerson nor anyone else in the administration seems seriously to believe in the Iran deal's merits and utility. Other powers that brokered the nuclear deal along with the US have said there's no appetite for renegotiating it.

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