President Donald Trump has delivered an ultimatum to America's European allies to fix the "terrible flaws" in the Iran nuclear deal or he will pull the United States out in a few months' time.
The Trump administration has accused Iran of fomenting instability and violence across the Mideast, and the president's decision gives the White House and Congress more time to forge legislation punishing the country for that behavior without directly ending the nuclear accord that Iran reached with the USA and five other world powers.
Under the hard-won 2015 deal with Russian Federation, the US, China, France, Britain, Germany and the EU, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for lifting of a raft of worldwide sanctions.
That doesn't seem likely to happen; the other European nations in the agreement don't want to renegotiate the deal without Iran's consent - and Iran's foreign minister says the deal "is not renegotiable".
Had Trump made a decision to re-impose sanctions on Iran, it would have been a violation of the nuclear deal. Congress didn't touch the issue.
"In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal".
Back in October, Mr. Trump declared the Iran deal wasn't in the United States' interest.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded on Twitter that the deal was not renegotiable and that Trump's stance "amounts to desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement".
The top Iranian diplomat said the world has over the past centuries been characterized by a paradigm based on power and zero-sum games, "which has had no result for the people of the world but loss, violence, conflict, and killings".
Responding to Trump's decision at the time, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Tehran would not cave in to USA pressure.
The most prominent new name on the Treasury sanctions blacklist, which forbids Americans from doing business with the targets, is the head of Iran's judiciary, Sadegh Amoli Larijani. And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately.
China argues against Washington's unilateral anti-Tehran sanctions and speaks for implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, which "has not come by easily", Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang told reporters on Saturday.
"Today, I am waiving the application of certain nuclear sanctions, but only in order to secure our European allies' agreement to fix the awful flaws of the Iran nuclear deal", Mr Trump said.
"We have also heeded that the global community universally support the JCPOA and fully recognize the efforts made by Iran to implement it", he said.
"No-one should doubt my word".
After that, the Trump administration intends to work with European partners on a type of "follow-on" agreement that includes "certain triggers" Iran must follow, including nuclear inspections and restrictions on Iran's nuclear program that have no sunset.
President Donald Trump earlier said the United States would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal later this year unless the terms of the deal are changed.
The decision had been expected since earlier this week.
USA officials say the president will work with European partners to try to broker an agreement limiting Iran's ballistic missiles activities.
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