Press TV – US President Donald Trump has reluctantly agreed not to reimpose nuclear sanctions on Iran, but said it would be the last time he issues such a waiver, according to the White House.
“Today, I am waiving the application of certain nuclear sanctions, but only in order to secure our European allies’ agreement to fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal. This is a last chance,” Trump said in a statement on Friday.
Trump said he wanted America’s European allies to use the 120-day period before sanctions relief again comes up for renewal to agree to tougher measures and new conditions, otherwise, he noted, Washington would pull out of the deal.
“I have outlined two possible paths forward: either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw,” he said.
The agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was reached between Iran and six world powers — the US, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany — in July, 2015.
The deal puts limitations on parts of Iran’s peaceful nuclear program in exchange for removing all nuclear-related sanctions.
Trump said that he was willing to work “with Congress on bipartisan legislation regarding Iran. But any bill I sign must include four critical components.”
He said, first, Iran must “allow immediate inspections at all sites requested by international inspectors.”
However, since the JCPOA Implementation, the IAEA has been verifying and monitoring Iran’s compliance with its nuclear-related commitments under the nuclear deal and has consistently verified the Islamic Republic’s compliance.
Second, the president added that the bill “must ensure that Iran never even comes close to possessing a nuclear weapon,” but Tehran itself has always asserted that it never sought to build a nuclear weapon.
Third, Trump noted that “unlike the nuclear deal, these provisions must have no expiration date.”
His administartion has been upset at the deal’s “sunset clauses” that will put an end to restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program after a few years as well as the agreement’s “total silence on Iran’s missile programs.”
Finally, he said, “the legislation must explicitly state in United States law—for the first time—that long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs are inseparable, and that Iran’s development and testing of missiles should be subject to severe sanctions.”
Washington claims Iran’s missile program is in breach of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear deal.
Tehran, however, insists its missile tests do not breach any UN resolutions because they are solely for defense purposes and not designed to carry nuclear warheads.
Trump also said that he had “engaged with key European allies in seeking to secure a new supplemental agreement that would impose new multilateral sanctions if Iran develops or tests long-range missiles, thwarts inspections, or makes progress toward a nuclear weapon.”
“And, like the bill I expect from Congress, these provisions of a supplemental agreement must never expire,” he said, adding, “The United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal.”
Trump had come under heavy pressure from European allies to issue the sanctions waiver.
On Thursday, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, together with foreign ministers of France, the UK and Germany delivered a strong defense of the deal in separate statements, which were issued following a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Brussels.
While Trump approved a sanctions waiver, the US Treasury Department announced that it has imposed sanctions on 14 Iranian individuals and companies, including Iranian Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani.
Trump again supports violence in Iran
The Republican president used his statement to, once again, voice support for a recent wave of violence in Iran.
Nearly two weeks ago, some peaceful protests were held in certain Iranian cities against rising prices and the overall economic condition of the country. Limited numbers of violent individuals, some of them armed, later sought to turn the peaceful protests into street riots. However, the original protesters soon heeded calls by authorities to leave the streets so that their activities would not play into the hands of violent rioters.
Trump described the the violent individuals as “brave Iranian citizens,” also “calling on all nations to lend similar support to” them.
Following the protests, the US called for an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to address the issue.
During the January 5 session, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley gave an exaggerated account of the riots and said Washington would remain steadfastly behind the Iranian “protesters.”
In response, Iran’s UN mission released a statement strongly condemning Haley’s comments and describing her and other US officials’ remarks as idle talks which aim to support violence and unrest in the country.