News ID: 200575
Published: 0407 GMT September 15, 2017

US extends Iran sanctions relief under nuclear deal

US extends Iran sanctions relief under nuclear deal

The United States decided on Thursday to continue to exempt Iran from nuclear-related sanctions, Treasury Department Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

President Donald Trump, who must make a decision by mid-October that could undermine the agreement, said Iran is violating “the spirit” of the 2015 deal under which Iran got sanctions relief in return for curbing its nuclear program, Reuters reported.

The prospect of Washington reneging on the agreement has worried some of the key US allies that helped negotiate the deal, especially as the world grapples with another nuclear crisis, North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile development.

Republican Senator Bob Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and wrote the law giving Congress the right to review the Iran deal, said he recognized the need to work with allies.

“I think it’s important that ... we take steps that, to the extent we can, we keep all of our allies together,” Corker told Reuters. “What you don’t want to do is self-create a crisis for no reason. You want to make sure that you have an outcome here that is a good outcome for the United States and our interest.”

Asked if it made sense to abandon the Iran nuclear deal given concerns about North Korea, Corker said, “I don’t think you should prejudge what they’re (the administration) going to do.”

In a sign of Trump’s desire to put pressure on Iran, which denies violating the deal, the US Treasury announced new cyber-related and other sanctions on seven Iranian individuals, two Iranian entities and two Ukraine-based entities.

“We are not going to stand for what they are doing,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One. But he stopped short of saying whether he will refuse to recertify the agreement.

Trump must decide in October whether to certify that Iran is complying with the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). If he does not, Congress has 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions waived under the deal.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters the administration had approved waivers of some sanctions on Iran to “maintain some flexibility” as it develops its Iran policy. She did not specify which sanctions were waived.

Earlier, sources said the United States will renew a waiver of the most punitive sanctions on Iran.

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