U.S. Extends Iran Nuclear Deal, Issues Sanctions

U.S. Extends Iran Nuclear Deal, Issues Sanctions

News 20-11-2017, PAID



The Trump administration extended sanctions relief under the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, keeping the deal intact for at least another several months, but said it would issue no more such waivers as it negotiates a modified deal with European allies.

The U.S. Treasury at the same time on Friday imposed new punitive actions not directly related to the nuclear deal. The measures are meant to pressure Tehran over ongoing missile tests and a recent crackdown on Iranian protesters.

The head of Iran’s judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, is named on the sanctions lists, as is a Chinese network accused of helping Iran procure weapons. The Iranian mission at the United Nations didn’t immediately respond to a quest for comment.

Mr. Trump next faces a decision on waiving sanctions in May, effectively setting a four-month deadline for the negotiation of a modified deal.

Senior administration officials said the White House would consider remaining party to a modified nuclear deal with Iran, but only if there was no expiration on the threat that the U.S. and its European partners could snap stringent sanctions back into place.

If Iran abides by the terms of the deal, the U.S. had agreed that the threat of tough nuclear-related sanctions snapping back would expire after 10 years.

Officials said the deal under negotiation also would include terms that strengthen the ability of international inspectors to investigate all sites in Iran, and cover the country’s missile program. The existing deal allows Iran to keep certain military sites off limits to inspectors.

Officials have been urging Mr. Trump to keep the deal in place at least for now while they work to address some of his concerns with the deal, which he has said gives Iran too much in sanctions relief for too little in the way of restrictions on its nuclear program.

Under the 2015 nuclear agreement, the U.S. agreed to waive sanctions against Iran that are contained in a series of U.S. laws. The waivers for each law must renewed periodically to extend the sanctions relief.

Beginning this week, Mr. Trump was facing a series of waiver deadlines and needed to approve them to keep the U.S. commitments in place under the nuclear accord.

They were the first such deadlines since he declined in October to certify to Congress that Iran was complying with the terms of the accord. Mr. Trump said at that time that he would exit from the accord if European allies and U.S. lawmakers failed to take steps to fix it, but didn’t set a deadline.

Since then, there has been some progress in negotiations between the White House and Sens. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and Ben Cardin (D., Md.) on an amendment to 2015 legislation that allows for congressional oversight over the deal.

The amendment would address some of Mr. Trump’s concerns about the deal, including limits on nuclear behavior that expire over time.

Antigovernment protests in Iran this month have added additional uncertainty to Mr. Trump’s deliberations, particularly after more than 20 people died and the government arrested over 4,000 people.

Write to Ian Talley at ian.talley@wsj.com and Felicia Schwartz at Felicia.Schwartz@wsj.com

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