Donald Trump keeps Iran nuclear deal alive by waiving economic sanctions

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Donald Trump keeps Iran nuclear deal alive by waiving economic sanctionsDonald Trump has announced he will not reimpose economic sanctions on Iran in a move that keeps the nuclear deal in place, despite his repeated criticism.  However Mr Trump said this is the last time he will waive such sanctions and challenged European allies to agree a series of new requirements on Iran. He also ordered 14 separate sanctions to punish Iran over its human rights abuses, including in response to recent protests. These are separate to the nuclear deal.  The news will be cautiously welcomed by British leaders and European Union figures who have lobbied hard to keep the Iran nuclear deal in place.  Mr Trump said: “Despite my strong inclination, I have not yet withdrawn the United States from the Iran nuclear deal. "Instead, I have outlined two possible paths forward: either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw.” The 2015 agreement was signed by Barack Obama, Mr Trump’s predecessor, and saw economic sanctions waived in return for Iran not developing nuclear weapons.  Mr Trump was a fierce critic during the 2016 election campaign, calling it the “worse deal ever” and promising to scrap it if he became president.  Pro-government demonstrators hold posters of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Credit: MOHAMMAD ALI MARIZAD/AFP/Getty Images An Iranian woman raises her fist amid the smoke of tear gas at the University of Tehran during a protest driven by anger over economic problems, in the capital Tehran on December 30, 2017 Credit: AFP PHOTO / STRSTR/AFP/Getty Images On Friday, Mr Trump faced a deadline over whether to reinstate sanctions on Iran’s central bank and oil exports – a move that would almost certainly have collapsed the deal.  Mr Trump has decided not take that step and instead waived the sanctions, senior administration officials said – effectively leaving the deal in place.   However, they added it would be “the last such waiver” that Mr Trump would issue and said it is now up to America and Europe to agree tougher requirements on Iran. It is 60 days until the next sanctions relief renewal deadline comes up.  Specifically, Mr Trump wants Iran to limit its ballistic missile testing and be more open to international nuclear inspectors in return for keeping the nuclear deal in place.  In a separate but linked move, Mr Trump also announced 14 “designations” against Iranian individuals and companies who will be punished for, among other things, alleged human rights abuses.  Donald Trump, the US president Credit: UPI / Barcroft Images Targets include Sadeq Amoli Larijani, the head of Iran’s judiciary, who has overseen “cruel, inhumane and degrading” torture of prisoners, according to senior US administration officials.  Other punishments are linked to censoring Iranian protesters, who have taken to the streets in recent weeks, and the attempt to stop them practising the right to free assembly.  Allies are likely to breathe a sigh of relief that Mr Trump has not reimposed economic sanctions and brought down the nuclear deal – a decision partly credited to pressure from his cabinet colleagues.  However the US president has effectively started the clock ticking, saying he will put sanctions back on unless a series of tougher restrictions are placed on Iran.  These are additional to those already in place and will be negotiated between America and European countries rather than with Iran, US officials said. Talks are already “quite far advanced”. Mr Trump also hoped Congress can agree a new law that tackles similar issues.  The move reflects Trump administration fears that Iran is using the nuclear agreement as a shield to aggressively pursue ballistic missiles development and sponsoring terrorism in the region.  Mr Trump explained: “No one should doubt my word. I said I would not certify the nuclear deal—and I did not. I will also follow through on this pledge. "I hereby call on key European countries to join with the United States in fixing significant flaws in the deal, countering Iranian aggression, and supporting the Iranian people. "If other nations fail to act during this time, I will terminate our deal with Iran.” It remains unclear whether Iran would agree to any tougher limits on its behaviour. Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, has previously rejected such calls. 



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