New US sanctions attempt to influence Russian Federation before election

The Nation

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.

Trump, who has sharply criticized the deal reached during Democrat Barack Obama's presidency, had privately chafed at having to once again waive sanctions on a country he sees as a rising threat in the Middle East.

The solidity of Iran and global support for the agreement have blocked attempts by Trump and Israel to terminate this agreement or make changes to it, said the statement.

A senior administration official said Trump wants the deal strengthened with a follow-on agreement in 120 days or the United States will unilaterally withdraw from the worldwide pact. To keep the United States in the nuclear agreement in the future, senior administration officials said Trump will pressure European partners to agree to impose new conditions on Iranian behavior. The argument for staying in, the official said, was to allow time to toughen the terms of the agreements.

A decision to withhold a waiver would have effectively ended the deal between Iran and the other worldwide signatories.

Russian Federation - one of the parties to the Iran pact alongside the United States, China, France, Britain, Germany and the European Union - called Trump's comments "extremely negative".

Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal get easy opponents in Australian Open draw
He also has No. 7-ranked David Goffin, Juan Martin del Potro, Sam Querrey, and Canada's Milos Raonic in his quarter. Federer, seeded second, and will bid for his 20th Grand Slam title in the bottom half of the draw.

One senior administration official said Trump would be open to remaining in a modified deal if it were made permanent.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamed Javad Zarif accused Trump of "maliciously violating" the nuclear deal. But his explicit warning to Europe that the deal must be fixed by the time the next sanctions waivers are due in the spring creates a high-stakes diplomatic deadline that will be hard to meet.

It is aimed at ensuring Iran uses its nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes while preventing it from gaining nuclear weapons. It has said it will stick to the accord as long as the other signatories respect it but will "shred" the deal if Washington pulls out. Officials, congressional aides and outside administration advisers said had the president would likely extend the sanctions waivers, citing progress in amending USA legislation that governs Washington's participation in the deal.

The 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was signed by the U.S. under the previous administration of president Barack Obama as well as Iran, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany.

"So Trump now has issued explicit May deadline to Congress and Europeans: Fix Iran nuke deal or no more sanctions waivers", wrote Mark Dubowitz, head of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies.

"We are gradually coming to the conclusion that an internal decision by the United States to leave the (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) has already been made or is close to being made", Ryabkov said in an interview with Interfax news agency.

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