Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Trump gives Iran nuclear deal 'a last chance'

Trump gives Iran nuclear deal 'a last chance'

Trump waives Iran sanctions, demands changes to "disastrous" nuclear deal US President Donald Trump says he has waived sanctions against Iran for the last time, and insists a new nuclear deal must be negotiated before the current 120-day extension runs out.

Trump, who made his opposition to the 2015 agreement a cornerstone of his presidential election campaign, said he would use the next four months "to secure our European allies' agreement to fix [its] bad flaws".

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had earlier said on Twitter that the deal was "not renegotiable" and that Trump's move "amounts to desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement".

In particular, it will not begin to expire after 10 years as parts of the existing deal do, but instead would impose permanent restrictions on not just Iran's nuclear plants but also its missile programme.

Iran's Foreign Ministry said Saturday that the Islamic republic will never succumb to pressure of the United States to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear deal. Mr Trump also wants Iran's ballistic missile programme to be addressed.

Iran has said it's not interested in any renegotiation and would nearly certainly view a side agreement between the US and Europe as a violation of the deal.

"We have also heeded that the global community universally support the JCPOA and fully recognize the efforts made by Iran to implement it", he said.

"Our biggest priority is to maintain the JCPOA, but of course not at any price", he added.

Trump laid out several conditions to keep the United States in the deal.

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Trump signed a waiver keeping the USA sanctions that would scuttle the deal suspended for another 120 days.

"If at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately", he added. "It's going to be complicated to save the deal after this", said one European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We are targeting the Iranian regime, including the head of Iran's judiciary, for its appalling mistreatment of its citizens, including those imprisoned exclusively for exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly, and for censoring its own people as they stand up in protest against their government".

This would not entail negotiations with Iran, the official said, but rather would be the result of talks between the United States and its European allies.

The waiver he will sign suspends sanctions for another 120 days, but he warned that if a new agreement was not made "the United States will not again waive sanctions".

Hard-liners on Iran in the U.S. 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.

As Trump agreed to the sanctions relief, U.S. Department of Treasury said on Friday that it has imposed new sanctions on 14 individuals and entities over Iran's alleged human rights abuses and ballistic missile program, including head of Iran's judiciary and the cyber unit of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.

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

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