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Iran Officials Upset Over Extension of US Sanctions

FILE - Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Iran's top diplomat has strongly condemned a bill that passed the U.S. Congress earlier this week to extend sanctions against the country.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Iranian state broadcaster IRIB the extension of the sanctions “shows the unreliability of the American government” to the rest of the world.

"America is acting against its commitment," he said.

The U.S. Senate voted on Thursday to extend sanctions against Iran for another 10-year period, prompting several of Iran's top officials to accuse the U.S. of reneging on the nuclear agreement signed by both countries last year.

Iranian officials are upset because they believe the extension of the sanctions violates the agreement struck between Iran and six other world powers, including the U.S., that constrained Iran’s nuclear program.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also condemned the extension of the sanctions.

"The (nuclear accord) is the result of efforts by seven countries, and one country should not be allowed to weaken it," the president reportedly told state news agency IRNA.

Congressman have said the Iran Sanctions Act extension only continues sanctions already in place, so it isn’t in violation of the nuclear deal, and they hadn’t heard of any other key partners who opposed the extension.

"I have not heard strident objections from our key allies in the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action)," Delaware Senator Chris Coons said.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said the extension of the sanctions would allow the new Trump administration greater leverage when dealing with Iran in the future.

"Extending the Iran Sanctions Act ... ensures President-elect (Donald) Trump and his administration have the tools necessary to push back against the regime’s hostile actions," he said in a statement.