June 19, 2018

U.S. weighs sanctions relief while bemoaning Iran's behaviour

15 September 2017, 12:53 | Clyde Nash

Iran to IAEA: No, You May Not Visit Our Military Sites

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during a news conference at Lancaster house in London

On September 5 U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley laid out a case for President Donald Trump to step back from the nuclear deal, arguing that Iran's technical compliance alone isn't enough for the stick with the pact.

The three former Obama administration officials also said the deal is nearly impossible to renegotiate unless the USA could give Iran some new concessions or incentives, an idea Trump seems to oppose.

The Treasury Department on Thursday announced that it had designated 11 entities and individuals for engaging in support of designated Iranian actors or malicious cyber-enabled activity against the U.S.

Under the law, these sanctions can be waived for a maximum of 120 days, forcing the US government revisit the issue every four months.

"This is a hand grenade thrown into the middle of the Iran debate", said a source who has discussed the proposal with congressional offices.

The waivers were first issued by the Obama administration and are America's part of the deal's central bargain.

"This is precisely a scenario that the hardliners in Iran might love", he said, "that is using the fact that the out of step with the rest of the worldwide community to drive a wedge between us and Europe, between us and the Chinese and the Russians on this issue".

"No final decision's been made", Tillerson said, referring to the USA interagency review of its broader policy on Iran.

After Iran's nuclear agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with six world powers (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom), many outside businesses are enthusiastic to enter the Iranian market.

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Rather than reopening the nuclear deal - a prospect that other nations already have rejected - the parties would seek a separate set of agreements to limit Iran's access to ballistic missile technology and its uranium enrichment after "sunset" provisions in the accord start to take effect in 2025.

Last week, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, called the deal a "very flawed and very limited agreement" and contended that "Iran has been caught in multiple violations over the past year-and-a-half".

"We are not going to stand for what they are doing to this country", Trump told reporters traveling with him on Air Force One. "Iran doesn't need the United States to accomplish its goals".

What Amano did not say, however, is whether military sites are now being inspected - something critics of the deal might seize upon. But reinstating sanctions would violate the U.S.'s terms - and effectively tear up the agreement.

A European official, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private, described a visit by Americans as part of a listening tour on Iran policy and stressed there was no agreement.

New sanctions won't work either, the three said.

In another, the White House elaborated.

With assistance from Jonathan Tirone Helene Fouquet Thomas Penny Katharina Rosskopf and Kambiz Foroohar.

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