Published: Wed, July 19, 2017
Markets | By Terence Owen

Trump says Iran complying with nuclear deal but remains risky threat

Trump says Iran complying with nuclear deal but remains risky threat

The 2015 agreement relaxed a range of USA and worldwide nuclear-related sanctions on Iran on the condition that the government in Tehran dismantle its nuclear program.

According to the nuclear deal, the president is required by Congress to certify Iran's compliance every three months, a deadline that falls on Monday.

Trump has now twice affirmed Iran's compliance since taking office, effectively keeping the deal in place.

The administration was working on a "strategy that will address the totality" of Iran's actions, which will not be focussed narrowly on the implementation by Teheran of its end of the deal, a senior Trump administration official said Monday.

The new sanctions are part of a larger US effort to counter Iran's military buildup and support for terrorists across the Middle East, notably in Syria, where Iranian-backed forces have attacked American personnel in recent weeks.

Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) reached the 159-page nuclear agreement in July 2015 and implemented it in January 2016.

Meanwhile, the grassroots disarmament organization Peace Action wrote on Thursday that the Iran deal should be held up as a model for diplomacy, as the USA weighs its options in handling growing concerns over North Korea's nuclear capabilities-thus far, imposing sanctions and refusing to participate in talks with North Korea.

"Never, ever, ever, in my life have I seen any transaction so incompetently negotiated as our deal with Iran", Trump said September 9, 2015, during a Tea Party rally.

Donald Trump Benjamin Netanyahu
Iran nuclear deal timeline

"We need to ensure more aggressively they are in compliance with the letter of the [agreement]", an official said.

President Trump, who lambasted the 2015 pact as a candidate, gave himself more time to decide whether to scuttle it or let it stand.

"[We] will continue to use sanctions to target those who lend support to Iran's destabilizing behavior and above all, the United States will never allow the regime in Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon", Nauert added.

Since early last week, Trump's administration had been prepared to make the certification, a quarterly requirement. But they said the US would still seek to punish the country for malevolent behavior outside of the nuclear pact, including its support for Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria and its continuing development of ballistic missiles.

"We judge that these Iranian activities severely undermine the intent of the agreement as a force for worldwide stability", the administration official said.

The United Nations has repeatedly said Iran is complying. And he returned to that theme often during the presidential race, describing the deal as "catastrophic", among other things.

Those sanctioned had backed Iran's military or Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps by developing drones and military equipment, producing and maintaining boats, and procuring electronic components, it said.

Responding to a question about whether Iran has received any signals from the Trump administration, positive or negative, Zarif said, "We receive contradictory signals".

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