Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Zarif: Trump 'desperate' to undermine nuclear deal

Zarif: Trump 'desperate' to undermine nuclear deal

Trump has already declared that he no longer considers the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers to be in the United States' national interest.

Washington also announced sanctions against 14 entities and people, including the head of Iran's judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani.

President Donald Trump waived nuclear sanctions against Iran for what the White House said was the final time under the current deal.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had earlier said on Twitter that Trump's decision undermined the multilateral agreement.

While Trump has repeatedly railed that the deal was "one of the worst" that the USA had signed, the European Union's foreign policy chief has publicly disagreed in the past. These are separate to the nuclear deal.

"The U.S. government, like other parties to the deal, is obliged to fulfill all its obligations, and if it fails to comply with its obligations under false pretexts, it should be fully held accountable for the consequences", the foreign ministry said in its statement.

Waiving the big sanctions and slapping on some new small ones is a maneuver we've seen the Trump administration do before, as it deals with its dilemma on the nuclear deal.

Mr Trump said: "Despite my strong inclination, I have not yet withdrawn the United States from the Iran nuclear deal".

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The 2015 agreement between the United States and Iran also was signed by China, France, Russia, Britain, Germany and the European Union, and these countries would have been unlikely to join the United States in reimposing sanctions. Officials, congressional aides and outside administration advisers said the president would likely extend the sanctions waivers, citing progress in amending USA legislation that governs Washington's participation in the accord.

"By deliberately creating uncertainty at every three month deadline as to whether the USA will honor its commitments, Trump makes it impossible for sanctions relief to move forward as promised under the accord", he said in a statement.

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

He said the Europeans have been lobbying hard in the United States to put pressure on Trump to remain committed to the JCPOA.

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 previous year that he was inclined to walk away from it. Work already has begun on this front, the official said.

That decision came despite the United Nations having certified Iran's compliance with the deal eight times.

During a phone call, French President Emmanuel Macron also urged Mr Trump not to scrap the deal.

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