Iran has warned Washington the nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers “is not renegotiable.”
The foreign ministry said in a statement that Iran “will not accept any change in the deal, neither now nor in the future” and it will “not take any action beyond its commitments.”
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter that U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement Friday that he is willing to approve new sanctions on Iran is a “desperate attempt to undermine a solid multilateral agreement.”
Trump stopped short for a third time of re-imposing harsh sanctions intended to push Tehran to give up its nuclear weapons research.
He said he was waiving the sanctions for the last time in order to give Congress and European allies 120 days to improve the agreement or face U.S. abandonment of the pact.
The president’s proposals to “fix the deal’s disastrous flaws” include Iran’s agreement to open all sites immediately to international inspectors and an assurance from Tehran that it will never develop a nuclear weapon.
According to the White House, any new Iran deal would have to cover Iran’s ballistic missiles and limit its nuclear breakout period indefinitely.
“In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately,” Trump said in a statement.
Red lines crossed
Additionally, the Treasury Department imposed new measures that target Iranian businesses and individuals for human rights abuses. They were imposed on 14 Iranian entities and individuals, the most prominent of whom is the head of the country’s judiciary, Sadegh Amoli Larijani. The department has linked Larijani to “the commission of serious human rights abuses” against Iranian people.
Iran’s foreign ministry said “The Trump regime’s hostile action [against Larijani] … crossed all red lines of conduct in the international community and is a violation of international law and will surely be answered by a serious reaction of the Islamic Republic.”
The cyber unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the Trump administration maintains has stifled social media networks that demonstrators can use to communicate, was also blacklisted.
Diplomacy Works, a pressure group founded by former U.S. secretary of state John Kerry to defend the 2015 deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, gave a biting evaluation of Trump’s move, saying “ ... the president’s plan includes bullying our allies into fundamentally altering the terms of a deal that they know is working for our mutual security and have publicly stated they have no interest in amending.”
A Trump administration official said the sanctions are part of a broader effort to counter Iran’s “reckless” and “destabilizing behavior,” including actions related to the crackdown on protesters, at least 21 of whom have been killed this month.
“The United States will not stand by while the Iranian regime continues to engage in human rights abuses and injustice,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement. “We are targeting the head of Iranian regime, including the head of Iran’s judiciary for the appalling treatment of its citizens, including those imprisoned only for exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly and for censoring its own people as they stand up in protest of their government.”
By law, the administration must certify to Congress every 90 days whether Iran is complying with a 2015 agreement it signed with the international community to limit its nuclear program.