Iran threatens 'severe' response to U.S. sanctions against judiciary chief

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

US President Donald Trump said he is extending sanctions relief for Iran one last time so Europe and the US can fix the nuclear deal's "terrible flaws, reported BBC".

Officials from major world powers and Iran meet roughly every three to four months to assess implementation of the deal, which is monitored by the world's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In a tweet, Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif said, "Trump's policy & today's announcement amount to desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement..." The European countries which signed on, including the U.K., France, and Germany urged the US to stay in on Thursday, claiming that Iran has been holding up its side of the bargain since the deal was signed. It would also impose permanent restrictions not just on Iran's nuclear plants, but also its missile program. Trump has called the accord the "worst deal ever", but he's declined to scrap it while Congress prepares legislation to modify the agreement and his administration marshals worldwide support to increase pressure on Iran. Instead, I have outlined two possible paths forward: "either fix the deal's disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw", read a statement.

It also said Iran would not allow the deal to be linked to other issues, after Trump suggested that the sanctions relief under the deal be tied to Iran limiting its long-range ballistic missile program. All sides agreed that it would only cover Iran's apparent efforts to develop nuclear weapons, which was in violation of United Nations resolutions, and not other issues.

The sanctioning of Larijani, the most prominent of the U.S. targets, could have "serious political impact inside Iran", a senior Trump administration official predicted Friday.

Under the accord, Iran slowed its nuclear programme in exchange for an easing of global economic sanctions.

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That balance is aimed at satisfying Trump's demand to raise pressure on Iran, while not embarking on a frontal assault on the most central trade-offs of the nuclear agreement. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has said he expects President Trump to impose sanctions on Iran.

Part of the nuclear deal was that the US would waive the sanctions, which are part of the relief Iran gets in exchange for destroying much of its nuclear equipment and allowing inspections.

Trump on Friday issued a statement on the deal in which 6 world powers agreed to lift economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for its curbing of nuclear activities.

Britain, France and Germany called on Trump on Thursday to uphold the pact.

The officials spoke Friday in a conference call for journalists on the condition they not be named. Broadly, the sanctions are meant to target Iran's "destabilizing behavior".

Trump and his top advisers have been negotiating with USA 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.

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