Trump upholds Iran nuclear deal, US sanctions top judge for ‘human rights abuses’

Author: REUTERSFri, 2018-01-12 21:42ID: 1515783431401516700WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump upheld US participation in the Iran nuclear deal on Friday by waiving US sanctions but aides said it would be the last time he would do so.
A senior administration official said Trump wants the 2015 Iran deal strengthened with a follow-on agreement in 120 days or the United States will unilaterally withdraw from the international pact.
Trump had privately chafed at having to once again waive sanctions on a country he sees as a rising threat in the Middle East. The agreement was reached during Barack Obama’s presidency.
While Trump approved a sanctions waiver, the US imposed sanctions on 14 individuals and entities on Friday for human rights abuses in Iran and supporting Iranian weapons programs, including the head of Iran’s judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani.
The US Treasury Department said in a statement that Larijani, a close ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is “responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses against persons in Iran or Iranian citizens or residents.”
A Chinese national was sanctioned for acting on behalf of Wuhan Sanjiang Import and Export Co. LTD, which is already under sanctions for doing business with an Iranian firm “owned or controlled” by the military.
Other sanctioned entities included another China-based company, Bochuang Ceramic Corp, and the Iranian firm it sought to supply with a chemical compound used in the transmission of electrical signals.
The decision was to be announced in a statement issued by the White House a day after Trump engaged in lengthy discussions with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and others about the nuclear deal.
Trump has argued behind the scenes that the nuclear deal makes the United States look weak, a senior US official said. The argument for staying in, the official said, was to allow time to toughen the terms of the agreements.
A decision to withhold a waiver would have effectively ended the deal that limits Iran’s nuclear program. 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.
Two senior Trump administration officials told Reuters on Wednesday that the president, a Republican, had privately expressed reluctance to heed the advice of top advisers recommending he not reimpose the suspended sanctions.
Trump has argued that Obama, a Democrat, negotiated a bad deal for the United States in agreeing to the nuclear accord.
Hailed by Obama as key to stopping Iran from building a nuclear bomb, the deal lifted economic sanctions in exchange for Tehran limiting its nuclear program.
PRESSURE FROM EUROPE
Trump had come under heavy pressure from European allies to issue the sanctions waiver.
Iran says its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. It has said it will stick to the accord as long as the other signatories respect it but will “shred” the deal if Washington pulls out.
The US Congress requires the president to decide periodically whether to certify Iran’s compliance with the deal and issue a waiver to allow USsanctions to remain suspended.
Trump in October chose not to certify compliance and warned he might ultimately terminate the accord. He accused Iran of “not living up to the spirit” of the agreement even though the International Atomic Energy Agency says Tehran is complying.
Hard-liners on Iran in the US Congress have called for the reimposition of the suspended sanctions and an end to the nuclear deal, while some liberal Democrats want to pass legislation that would make it harder for Trump to pull Washington out without congressional consent.
Trump and his top advisers have been negotiating with US lawmakers on Capitol Hill to try to change sanctions legislation so that he does not face a deadline on whether to recertify Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal every 90 days.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker has been working on amending a US law to include “trigger points” that if crossed by Iran would automatically bring back US sanctions.
Britain, France and Germany called on Trump on Thursday to uphold the pact. French President Emmanuel Macron stressed to Trump in a telephone call on Thursday the importance of abiding by the deal.
Main category: WorldTags: Donald TrumpUSIraniran sanctionsrelated_nodes: Iran nuclear deal survives, Trump to waive sanctionsUS to extend Iran sanctions relief: AP sourcesTrump reluctant to waive Iran sanctions, says official

Show More

Related Articles

Close