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Trump administration to review Iran sanctions relief

The US official old congress of plans to review sanctions relief [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 April, 2017

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The US Secretary of State notified Congress of plans to review whether sanctions relief given to Iran as part of the 2015 nuclear deal was in US national security interests.

The White House plans to review whether sanctions relief given to Iran as part of the 2015 nuclear deal was in its national security interests, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Congress on Tuesday.

"President Donald J. Trump has directed a National Security Council-led interagency review of the joint comprehensive plan of action that will evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) is vital to the national security interests of the United States," Tillerson wrote in a letter to Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan.

"Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror through many platforms and methods."

Despite this, the comments came as the White House certified that Iran was complying with its commitments under the deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama.

The certification of Iran's compliance with the terms of the deal must be issued to Congress every 90 days and the latest notification was the first to be issued by the Trump administration.

The deal - deemed to be a historic move by world leaders - placed curbs on Tehran's nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

Trump however, has repeatedly denounced the agreement, and in a January interview with The Times and Bild newspaper, called it "one of the worst deals ever made."

He declined to say whether he intended to "renegotiate" the deal, as he asserted regularly during the presidential campaign.

The pact was signed in July 2015 by Iran and six major powers - the US, China, Russia, the UK, France and Germany.

Critics of the agreement, including Israel, have argued that when some of the terms of the deal expire in 10 and 15 years it will leave Tehran on the threshold of building a bomb. 

Meanwhile, Iran was hit with more pressure from the European Union after the bloc confirmed it plans to prolong sanctions against Iran over its human rights record for another year, amid tensions over Tehran's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The sanctions, which are unrelated to Iran's nuclear programme, include an asset freeze against 82 individuals and one entity, plus a ban on exports to Iran of equipment "which might be used for internal repression and of equipment for monitoring telecommunications".

The European Council of member states said it decided to extend the sanctions in response "to serious human rights violations in Iran".


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