Trump Extends Sanctions Waiver On Iran For Another 90 Days

Iran calls fresh US sanctions illegal, hostile

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Under the terms of the landmark agreement the U.S. president must certify the deal every 90 days and pass sanction waivers every 120 days.

"This is a last chance", Trump said, pushing for a separate agreement. "But the clear reluctance with which he has issued the sanctions waivers will continue to weigh on the business community", said Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, founder of the Europe-Iran Forum, a business network.

He said the new deal should curb Iran's missile programme and include permanent restrictions on the Islamic republic's nuclear plants, removing expiration dates due to kick in after a decade.

Officials, congressional aides and outside administration advisers had said the president would probably extend the sanctions waivers, citing progress in the U.S. legislation. It says it will stick to the agreement as long as the other signatories respect it but will "shred" it if Washington pulls out.

Hailed by Obama as key to stopping Iran from building a nuclear bomb, the deal lifted economic sanctions in exchange for Tehran limiting its nuclear ambitions.

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Last week, the United States slapped sanctions on five Iran-based companies that Washington believes are involved in the country's ballistic missile program.

On Friday, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter Mr Trump's decision undermined the multilateral agreement.

The US president warned that this would be the last time he does so unless Congress and European countries fix the nuclear deal's "terrible flaws", and heed his call to strengthen it, including incorporating Iran's missile program into the accord.

It would target Iran's missile program and not simply its nuclear industry, and it would mandate United Nations inspections of Iranian sites.

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) didn't like the idea of waiving Iran's nuclear sanctions.

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Trump has argued behind the scenes that the nuclear deal makes the United States look weak, a senior USA official said.

Rubio issued a statement recommending that Trump should "impose new sanctions against elements of the Iranian government, including the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks, that are involved in or facilitating the regime's human rights abuses against Iranian protesters, its ballistic missile program, or its support for terrorism".

Although Trump approved the waiver on US sanctions as spelled out in the deal, Washington announced other sanctions against 14 Iranian entities and individuals, including judiciary head Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, a close ally of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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

The ministry added the president is "continuing to take hostile measures against the Iranian people and repeating the threats that have failed many times". In November, the body again said Iran was in compliance.

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