Saturday, 20 July, 2019

Iran demands that Obama allow US sanctions to expire

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is demanding that U.S. President Barack Obama not sign an extension of U.S. sanctions, saying the bill is a violation of a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, AP reported.

On Thursday the U.S. Senate voted to extend the Iran Sanctions Act by 10 years. Speaking in an open session of Iran’s parliament Sunday, Rouhani said Obama is “obliged” to let the sanctions expire.

The nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers lifted a variety of international sanctions in exchange for limitations on the Iranian nuclear program. However the U.S. still maintains its own separate set of sanctions, which will expire on Dec. 31 if Obama does not sign them into law.

Rouhani promised a “prompt response” from Iran if the U.S. sanctions are extended.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday that an extension of U.S. sanctions shows the world that Washington cannot be relied upon to act on its commitments.

“To the world community, the extension of sanctions against Iran shows the unreliability of the American government,” state broadcaster IRIB quoted Zarif as saying upon arrival in India for an official visit.

“America is acting against its commitment,” Zarif added.

U.S. officials said the ISA renewal would not infringe the nuclear agreement. U.S. lawmakers have also said the ISA extension would make it easier for sanctions to be quickly reimposed if Iran contravened the nuclear deal..

But Iran’s nuclear energy chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, who played a central role in reaching the nuclear deal, described the extension as a “clear violation” if implemented.

The diplomatic thaw in swing between Washington and Tehran over the past two years looks in jeopardy with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump taking office next month. He said during his election campaign that he would scrap the nuclear agreement.

Last month, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had already warned in November that the extension would be viewed in Tehran as a breach of the nuclear accord and threatened retaliation.

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