US President Donald Trump Friday opted to extend sanctions relief provided to Iran as part of the 2015 nuclear deal, but he warned European allies that he would pull out of the pact unless its "terrible flaws" are corrected. But his explicit warning to Europe that the deal must be fixed by the time the next sanctions waivers are due in the spring creates a high-stakes diplomatic deadline that will be hard to meet.
In any event, the United States is likely to impose new sanctions on Iran over human right abuses and support for foreign extremist groups rather than nuclear back-sliding.
Most U.S. trade with and investment in Iran already is banned under separate U.S. sanctions for Tehran's human rights abuses, ballistic missile program and support for terrorism, but the administration and its supporters said more are needed. Trump wants them to help the USA devise a new agreement created to prevent Iran from escalating nuclear activity again next decade, as permitted under the 2015 arrangement reached by President Barack Obama.
"In what we heard yesterday, I don't see any invitation for Iran to enter dialogue", he said.
Meanwhile, on his official Twitter account, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Trump's decision undermined the multilateral agreement.
Russian Federation on Saturday said Washington would be making a grave mistake by pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, adding that Moscow would work hard to keep the landmark agreement alive.
"And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately". Officials, congressional aides and outside administration advisers said had the president would likely extend the sanctions waivers, citing progress in amending US legislation that governs Washington's participation in the deal.
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His ultimatum puts pressure on Europeans - key backers and parties to the 2015 worldwide agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program - to satisfy Mr Trump, who wants the pact strengthened with a separate agreement within 120 days.
He was among those calling for a crackdown following a recent spate of anti-government protests across Iran.
The US also declared sanctions against 14 entities and people, including Iran's head of judiciary Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani. One aspect of the law that Trump has particularly bristled at is having to give Iran a "thumbs up" every few months by acknowledging that it is meeting its nuclear requirements.
Russian Federation spoke out strongly Friday in favor of the accord, ahead of the announcement of Trump's decision, calling it "the result of a consensus among many parties", in the words of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
United Nations inspectors have certified Iran's compliance with the deal nine times, most recently in November.
Continuing to implement the nuclear deal was the responsibility of all parties concerned and the common wish of the global community, Wang was quoted as saying during the call, which took place on a visit to Rwanda.