Iran gets extension of sanctions easing
But president also accuses Tehran of violating nuke deal.
— The Trump administration Thursday extended sanctions relief for Iran, avoiding imminent action that could implode
the landmark 2015 nuclear deal even as President Don- ald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused Tehran of not respecting the entire agreement.
The extensions of the waiv- ers on nuclear sanctions, first issued by the Obama admin- istration, were accompanied by new penalties imposed against 11 Iranians and Iranian companies accused of supporting Iran’s ballistic missile program or involvement in cyberattacks against the U.S. financial system.
The combination of steps — known internally as “waive
and slap” — came as the administration nears com- pletion of a monthslong
review of its Iran policy that is expected next month, per- haps as early as Oct. 15, when
Trump must inform Congress if Iran is complying with the terms of the nuclear agree- ment and whether the deal
remains in U.S. national secu- rity interests.
In comments to reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump repeated his cam
paign pronouncement that the deal is bad and again said he believes Iran is violating its terms and spirit. “We are not going to stand for what they are doing to this country,” Trump said. “They have violated so many elements but they have also vio
lated the spirit of that deal.” Speaking in London at a joint news conference with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Tillerson told reporters the administration’s approach to Iran could not be determined on the basis of the nuclear accord alone.
“We must take into account the totality of Iranian threats, not just its nuclear capabilities. Iran is clearly in defiance of these obligations,” Tillerson said, pointing to its support of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government, cyberattacks and testing of ballistic missiles.
Before announcing the waivers extension, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert recited a litany of what she called provocative and belliger
ent Iranian action that she said demonstrated Iran’s malign behavior.
Meanwhile, the Treasury delivered the “slap” part of the strategy, imposing sanc
tions on Iranian companies and individuals affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, Iranian airlines and those believed to have been involved in cyberattacks on U.S. banks.
The waivers are part of the deal’s central bargain.
In exchange for Tehran rolling back its atomic program, the U.S. and other world powers agreed to suspend wide-ranging oil, trade and financial penalties that had choked the Iranian economy. Iran rejects the conten
tion that it has broken the agreement. And it can point to a U.N. report this week showing that Iran was meeting the conditions set out in the July 2015 accord.
The president must certify to Congress every 90 days whether Iran is adhering to the agreement. If he doesn’t, Congress has 60 days to decide whether to re-impose sanctions lifted under the agreement.