US keeps Iran nukes deal de­spite sanc­tions

The Weekend Australian - - WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON: The US agreed yes­ter­day to con­tinue to ex­empt Iran from nu­clear-re­lated sanc­tions but slapped new mea­sures on tar­gets ac­cused of cy­ber at­tacks or desta­bil­is­ing the re­gion.

The de­ci­sion to con­tinue to waive the sanc­tions was ex­pected, but the new sanc­tions and some tough words from Don­ald Trump will be seen as a vic­tory for op­po­nents of the Iran nu­clear deal.

The Pres­i­dent is due to de­cide be­fore Oc­to­ber 15 whether Iran has breached the 2015 nu­clear agree­ment, and crit­ics fear he may aban­don an ac­cord they think pre­vents Tehran from build­ing a nu­clear bomb.

“You’ll see what I’m go­ing to be do­ing very shortly in Oc­to­ber,” Mr Trump said on the way to Hur­ri­cane Irma-rav­aged Florida on Air Force One. “The Iran deal is one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen. Cer­tainly at a min­i­mum the spirit of the deal is atro­ciously kept. The Iran deal is not a fair deal to this coun­try. It’s a deal that should not have ever been made.”

Pol­icy hawks wel­comed Trea­sury’s an­nounce­ment of new sanc­tions on non-nu­clear is­sues, and of­fi­cials were at pains to show they had waived nu­clear sanc­tions only grudg­ingly. “The ad­min­is­tra­tion did ap­prove waivers in or­der to main­tain some flex­i­bil­ity,” said State Department spokes­woman Heather Nauert.

A se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial called the waiver “a hold­ing ac­tion”. “This is the ac­tion that the US is tak­ing in the in­terim,” he said, “while the Pres­i­dent and his cabi­net come to a fi­nal de­ci­sion in con­sul­ta­tion among them­selves and in con­sul­ta­tion with al­lies.”

The deal, ap­proved by Barack Obama, was en­shrined in UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion 2231. Un­der the deal, Iran sur­ren­dered much of its en­riched ura­nium, dis- man­tled a re­ac­tor and sub­mit­ted nu­clear sites to UN in­spec­tion, while Wash­ing­ton and Europe lifted some sanc­tions.

The In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency says Iran has lived up to the terms of the deal, but Wash­ing­ton and its al­lies have been an­gered by Tehran’s other ac­tions.

Tehran con­tin­ues to de­velop and test bal­lis­tic mis­sile tech­nol­ogy banned un­der pre­vi­ous UN res­o­lu­tions, and its Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard sup­ports mili­tias in Syria, Iraq, Le­banon and Ye­men.

US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son, speak­ing in London, said Mr Trump would “take into ac­count the to­tal­ity of Ira­nian threats, not just Iran’s nu­clear ca­pa­bil­i­ties”.

He ar­gued that un­der the nu­clear deal, sig­na­to­ries were ex­pected to “pos­i­tively con­trib­ute” to re­gional and in­ter­na­tional peace and se­cu­rity. “In our view, Iran is clearly in de­fault of these ex­pec­ta­tions,’’ Mr Tiller­son said, not­ing Iran’s sup­port for the As­sad regime in Syria and its bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­gram.

Ira­nian For­eign Min­is­ter Javad Zarif in­sisted that Tehran would not be bul­lied into rene­go­ti­at­ing the deal, tweet­ing: “A ‘bet­ter’ deal is pure fan­tasy. About time for US to stop spin­ning and be­gin com­ply­ing, just like Iran.’’

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