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14 January 2018, 03:34 | Devin Moran
Trump speaks about the Iran nuclear deal in Washington DC
Trump said on Friday he would waive nuclear sanctions against Iran for the last time to give Washington and its European allies a chance to fix the "terrible flaws" of the 2015 nuclear deal. Tehran categorically denies it is seeking to develop atomic weapons. He is the brother of the speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, the officials said.
Additionally, the Treasury Department imposed new measures that target Iranian businesses and individuals for human rights abuses.
America's allies see the accord as the best way of thwarting Iran's quest for nuclear arms and a victory for multilateral diplomacy.
Europeans say these issues should be kept separate from discussion of the deal, but in a nod to United States concerns, Mogherini stressed they were raised with Zarif on Thursday. Trump is also waiving other US penalties covered by the agreement, including on Iran's oil and gas sectors, which were up for renewal next week.
The consequences would have been far-reaching if Trump had decided not to continue waiving nuclear-related sanctions. It also could hand Iran a pretext to start limiting United Nations inspections or restart its nuclear program. In exchange, economic sanctions on it were lifted.
While there may be some relief that Trump has yet to torpedo the hard-won accord, there were clear signs of frustration from European capitals in the runup to the decision.
Trump's expected announcement comes a day after Britain, France and Germany called on Washington to uphold the nuclear deal.
One of the criticisms levelled at the nuclear deal is that it does nothing to address Iran's continuing ballistic missile program and involvement in conflicts such as Yemen and Syria.
"The smooth implementation of the agreement should be accompanied by a stepped-up dialogue with Iran on its ballistic missile program and its regional policy in order to guarantee greater stability in the Middle East", the French statement added.
The accord required Tehran to dismantle its main nuclear reactor, drastically cut back on uranium enrichment, get rid of thousands of centrifuges and export most of its heavy water.
In exchange, most worldwide sanctions on Iran were eased, allowing the country to trade on the global oil market and rejoin worldwide banking systems. Washington has used the recent demonstrations in Iran to call into question the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic's government, going so far as to convene an emergency UN Security Council meeting to discuss Iran's internal issues.
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