Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

US extends sanctions relief under Iran nuke deal


The sanctions imposed over Iran's record on human rights, terrorism and ballistic missiles has scared valuable foreign investors seen as indispensable to reviving the economy.

The new sanctions designate seven entities, including two top Iranian defense officials and a China-based network that supplies material to Iran's missile program.

"We urge our partners around the world to join us in calling out individuals and entities who violate worldwide sanctions targeting Iran's human rights abuses", Jones said.

"It is alarming that individuals involved with Iran's missile program are assisting the brutal Assad regime, and we are taking action to curtail this behavior", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.

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Iran's foreign ministry issued a statement saying that the country will continue its missile program in line with its "inalienable and legal right" to upgrade the country's defensive capabilities, the ministry's spokesman Bahram Ghasemi wrote on his Telegram channel May 18.

In fact, it would violate a UN Security Council resolution and give Iran justification for resuming their nuclear weapons programme.

China has close economic and diplomatic ties with Tehran, but was also instrumental in pushing through a landmark 2015 deal to curb Iran's nuclear programme.

President Donald Trump's administration took a key step Wednesday toward preserving the nuclear deal with Iran, coupling the move with fresh sanctions for ballistic-missile work to show it isn't going light on the Islamic republic.

Jones said the U.S.is still forming a "comprehensive Iran policy, " alluding to Trump's assertion that he may tear up the nuclear deal after he finishes reviewing it.

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Leaving aside the fact that the Trump Administration is now distracted by the seemingly endless series of revelations related to the investigation into Russian interference in the election and Trump campaign contacts with Russia, there quite simply isn't any good reason to back out of the deal, and no indication that the United States would have any support from its global partners if it tried to renege on the deal.

In a statement, U.S. ambassador to the Middle East Stuart Jones said the United States would continue to waive sanctions that were lifted under the Iran's deal.

Still, the US paired the announcement with new, unrelated sanctions that go after Iran for a ballistic missiles program that Washington fears could target American interests in the Middle East or key allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Jones' remarks accompanied the State Department's semi-annual report to Congress on sanctions targeting Iran's human rights abuses.

The waiver extension comes as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whose government pushed hard to achieve the deal, faces off with his rivals in the campaign run for the May 19 presidential vote.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif hit back at Tillerson, saying "worn-out US accusations" could not "mask its admission of Iran's compliance" with the agreement.

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