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US plans to reimpose sanctions on Iran

China Daily | Updated: 2018-01-13 10:10

Trump stance being challenged by other major powers in talks

WASHINGTON-The United States is planning to reimpose sanctions on Iran, said US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday, ahead of President Donald Trump's decision on whether to extend sanctions relief on Iran under terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.

"I am expecting new sanctions on Iran. We continue to look at them. We've rolled them out," Mnuchin said.

Trump, who has vowed to scrap the nuclear pact, faces a Friday deadline to decide on the sanctions, and a decision to withhold a waiver would effectively end the deal that put limits on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for easing Western sanctions.

In fact, the US is the only party that has threatened to scrap the deal, a stance that has been confronted by other participants of world powers.

In a telephone conversation with Trump on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated "the determination of France to support the strict implementation of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement and the importance of it being respected by all signatories", said a statement from Elysee Palace.

Diplomats from Britain, France, Germany and the European Union again called on Trump to uphold the pact.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said those who oppose the nuclear agreement should come up with a better solution, "because we haven't seen it so far".

Meanwhile, China and Russia, the other two parties in the pact, have also repeatedly urged parties to preserve the deal, which is "a beneficial practice of solving a critical issue through political and diplomatic means".

In July 2015, after a decade of strenuous negotiations, Iran and six major countries-China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, the US and Germany-struck a final agreement on Iran's controversial nuclear program, in which the West promises to relieve sanctions on Teheran in exchange for a halt in Iran's efforts to develop a nuclear weapon.

However, as one of the most significant diplomatic legacies of Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, the hard-won nuclear deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has been running the gauntlet of Trump on his campaign trail and since he became president.

Trump has argued that Obama, a Democrat, negotiated a bad deal for the US in agreeing to the nuclear accord.

'Teheran is complying'

In October, Trump announced he had decided to decertify Iran's compliance with the pact. He accused Iran of "not living up to the spirit" of the agreement even though the International Atomic Energy Agency said Teheran is complying.

Despite the Iran nuclear deal, the US has kept slapping separate sanctions on Iran, accusing it of human rights abuses and of having a ballistic missiles program.

Hardliners on Iran in the US Congress want reimposition of the suspended sanctions and an end to the nuclear deal, while some liberal Democrats want legislation that would make it harder to pull out without congressional consent.

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.

The White House was expected to announce the decision on Friday.

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