Iran rules out any change to nuclear accord

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

European Union powers on Thursday urged U.S. President Donald Trump to endorse a key nuclear agreement with Iran saying the deal is essential for worldwide security.

"Today, I am waiving the application of certain nuclear sanctions, but only in order to secure our European allies' agreement to fix the bad flaws of the Iran nuclear deal".

Trump said he would waive sanctions against Iran that were lifted as part of the worldwide deal for the last time unless his conditions were met.

Iran argues that continued United States sanctions on non-nuclear areas such as human rights and missile testing have effectively barred it from gaining numerous financial benefits expected from the deal.

The deal on Iran's nuclear program was reached between Iran and six worldwide mediators (the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Russia, the United States, and France) on July 14, 2015. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) have been working with White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on an agreement that would keep the Iran deal intact.

By law, the administration must certify to Congress every 90 days whether Iran is complying with a 2015 agreement it signed with the worldwide community to limit its nuclear program.

Responding to Trump's decision at the time, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Tehran would not cave in to United States pressure.

"High-level" enrichment of 20-percent is used for nuclear medicines, but also leaves only a small amount of work to get to the 90-percent level needed for a nuclear weapon.

The president is also directing more than a dozen new designations against Iranian entities, senior administration officials said.

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"Our biggest priority is to maintain the JCPOA, but of course not at any price", he added.

It accused Mr Trump of "continuing to take hostile measures against the Iranian people and repeating the threats that have failed many times".

Trump's declaration puts great pressure on Britain, France and Germany, the European signatories to nuclear pact with Iran.

President Donald Trump earlier said the U.S. would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal later this year unless the terms of the deal are changed. The other parties to the agreement would have been unlikely to join the United States in reimposing sanctions. "And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately", he warned.

United States officials say the president will work with European partners to try to broker an agreement limiting Iran's ballistic missiles activities. As part of an agreement with Congress, the president has to sign a waiver suspending the sanctions every 120 days.

"It's incumbent on those who oppose the (deal) really to come up with that better solution, because we haven't seen it so far", he said. "It's going to be complicated to save the deal after this", said one European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Hard-liners on Iran in the U.S. Congress have called for the reimposition of the suspended sanctions and an end to the nuclear deal, while some liberal Democrats want to pass legislation that would make it harder for Trump to pull Washington out without congressional consent.

Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, condemned Washington's comments as "extremely negative", the Kremlin-backed Russian Information Agency (RIA) news agency reported on Saturday.

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