Iran calls new United States sanctions bluff

19 May, 2017, 17:30 | Author: Valerie Burke

The US Treasury Department Wednesday announced unrelated, new sanctions in connection to Iran's ballistic missile program.

The waiver Wednesday of sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program has been expected since last month, when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared Iran to be in compliance with the 2015 agreement that relieves sanctions in exchange for rollbacks in Iran's nuclear program.

Aiming to undercut the perception that Trump is softening on Iran, the US paired the announcement with new sanctions punishing Iran for its ballistic missiles program.

The State Department released today its semi-annual report to Congress detailing sanctions imposed on persons involved in human rights abuses in Iran.

The US Treasury added that two Iranian defense officials, an Iranian company, and members of a China-based network have been sanctioned for supporting the program.

Under the law, these sanctions can be waived for a maximum of 120 days.

The Trump administration is conducting an interagency review of U.S. policy to Iran and whether the nuclear deal advances USA national security interests, Jones said.

The moves indicated that while President Donald Trump was not ready to openly jettison the global nuclear agreement with Iran, he was keen to display a tougher line over Tehran's actions across the region.

It is noted that the sanctions imposed against officials Morteza Fracture and Rahim Ahmadi.

Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry along with other top security experts have come to defend the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the JCPOA, from the country's hardline President Donald Trump. As Al-Monitor first predicted May 14, however, the waiver was accompanied by harsh "foot stomping" meant to convey the message that Trump is determined to keep the pressure on Iran for non-nuclear-related malfeasance.

The decision came just before a Friday presidential election in Iran, in which moderate President Hassan Rouhani is fighting for a second term against hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi, who has called for a much tougher stance against the West. "Yet, the administration continues to stand in the way of what is legitimate trade with Iran, which the agreement obligates the United States not to do", said Trita Parsi, President of the organization. The Obama administration did so in mid January, forcing the Trump administration to decide by Wednesday whether to renew them or to put the wider Iran deal at risk.

Lawrence Ward, a partner at worldwide law firm Dorsey & Whitney, said that the announcement by the State Department to continue the USA participation in the Iran nuclear deal is quite significant.

The United States have issued sanctions in response to developments in Iran's ballistic missile program.

Last month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson admitted Iran was complying with its own commitments under the deal - placing its nuclear sites under worldwide scrutiny and halting most enrichment. It also comes ahead of a five-country trip for Trump, which includes stops in Saudi Arabia and Israel.

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