Trump issues ultimatum to fix Iran nuclear deal

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"Fourth, the legislation must explicitly state in United States law, for the first time, that long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs are inseparable, and that Iran's development and testing of missiles should be subject to severe sanctions", the President said.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, accused Trump of "desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement", tweeting on Friday: "JCPOA is not renegotiable: rather than repeating exhausted rhetoric, USA must bring itself into full compliance - just like Iran". On Friday, President Trump was seen to avoid upending the Iranian nuclear deal that he has repeatedly blamed and criticized the Obama administration for negotiating it. Iranian officials have said they are not interested in any renegotiation. These are separate to the nuclear deal.

The foreign ministry vowed to retaliate but did not say what form any action might take.

A senior administration official said Trump wants the 2015 Iran deal strengthened with a follow-on agreement in 120 days or the United States will unilaterally withdraw from the global pact.

On Friday, announcing his decision to waive the application of certain sanctions related to oil sales and Iran's banking system, he said he was only making the move to secure European allies' agreement to fix the deal's "flaws".

The US administration added 14 new individuals and entities to the sanctions list whom it accuses of human rights abuses and censorship.

Since the change in administrations, the State Department likewise has certified that Iran is in "technical compliance" with the deal.

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Officials in Britain and the European Union will likely welcome the news having fought hard to convince Trump to keep the deal in place. It now expires after a decade. Those changes include adding "triggers", such as inspections of Iranian facilities, and removing "sunset clauses" that allow Iran to enrich uranium and more.

"If at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately", he said.

Responding to Trump's speech late Friday, Zarif tweeted: "Rather than repeating exhausted rhetoric, United States must bring itself into full compliance - just like Iran".

Trump and his top advisers have been negotiating with US lawmakers on Capitol Hill to try to change sanctions legislation so that he does not face a deadline on whether to recertify Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal every 90 days.

In particular, it will not begin to expire after 10 years as parts of the existing deal do, but instead would impose permanent restrictions on not just Iran's nuclear plants but also its missile programme.

President Donald Trump gestures as he talks to the media on South Lawn of the White House in Washington before his departure to Camp David last month.

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