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Iran calls fresh U.S. sanctions illegal, hostile

14 January 2018

US President Donald Trump on Friday gave the Iran nuclear deal a final reprieve but warned European allies and Congress they had to work with him to "fix the awful flaws" of the pact or face US withdrawal.

A senior administration official said Trump wants the deal strengthened with a follow-on agreement in 120 days or the United States will unilaterally withdraw from the global pact. "In the absence of such an agreement, the USA will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal".

Iran argues that continued U.S. sanctions on non-nuclear areas such as human rights and missile testing have effectively barred Iran from gaining numerous financial benefits expected from the deal.

A decision to withhold a waiver would have effectively ended the deal between Iran and the other global signatories.

On Friday, Mr Trump agreed to waive sanctions against Iran that were lifted as part of the global deal but said it would be the last time unless conditions were met to fix what he called "significant flaws" in the deal.

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One senior administration official said Trump would be open to remaining in a modified deal if it were made permanent.

Trump had come under heavy pressure from European allies to issue the sanctions waiver.

Russian Federation - one of the parties to the Iran pact alongside the United States, China, France, Britain, Germany and the European Union - called Trump's comments "extremely negative".

Trump laid out conditions to keep Washington in the deal.

It is aimed at ensuring Iran uses its nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes while preventing it from gaining nuclear weapons.

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Meanwhile, Russia on Saturday said Washington would be making a grave mistake by pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. He accused Iran of "not living up to the spirit" of the agreement even though the International Atomic Energy Agency says Teheran is complying.

Trump also extended the waivers of key economic sanctions that were lifted under the agreement limiting Iran's nuclear program.

The most prominent new name on the Treasury sanctions blacklist, which forbids Americans from doing business with the targets, is the head of Iran's judiciary, Sadegh Amoli Larijani.

Senior U.S. administration officials told reporters Trump would work with Europeans on a follow-on deal to enshrine triggers that the Iranian government could not exceed related to ballistic missiles.

French President Emmanuel Macron called Trump on Thursday and stressed France's determination to see "the strict application of the deal and the importance of all the signatories to respect it".

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Iran calls fresh U.S. sanctions illegal, hostile