x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Trump approves Iran nuclear deal 'one last time' and imposes sanctions on 14 entities 

At the same time the treasury department imposed new non-nuclear related sanctions on Iran as well as Chinese individuals and entities

The US treasury department announced new sanctions on Iran, targeting 14 entities and individuals including Sadegh Amoli Larijani, the head of Iran’s Judiciary
The US treasury department announced new sanctions on Iran, targeting 14 entities and individuals including Sadegh Amoli Larijani, the head of Iran’s Judiciary

US president Donald Trump signed a waiver for nuclear-related sanctions on Iran “one last time” the White House said on Friday, as the treasury department imposed new non-nuclear related sanctions on Iran as well as Chinese individuals and entities.

A White House official confirmed that Mr Trump signed the waiver for sanctions relief per the nuclear deal, but this will be the president's last time the official said. Meanwhile, Washington is seeking an agreement with the Europeans to strengthen key provisions in the nuclear deal, relating to Iran's ballistic missile production, enrichment restrictions, the sunset clause and inspections.

"This is the last time he'll issue waivers unless they reach an agreement," a White House official said, anticipating that Mr Trump will sign a 120-day waiver in the coming days.

Ideally, congress members and the administration would like an agreement to be reached with the Europeans before the next deadline to sign another waiver. If that outcome is not secured, Mr Trump will not sign the next waiver according to the White House, thus threatening to unravel the nuclear deal in its current form with the resumption of US sanctions on the nuclear programme.

As the White House indicated Mr Trump’s plans to sign the waiver, the treasury department announces new sanctions on Iran targeting 14 entities and individuals for human rights abuses, ballistic missiles programmes, prison torture, and destabilising activities.

Those designated are:

  • Sadegh Amoli Larijani
  • Rajaee Shahr Prison
  • Gholamreza Ziaei
  • Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Electronic Warfare
  • Cyber Defense Organization
  • The Supreme Council of Cyberspace
  • The National Cyberspace Center
  • Green Wave Telecommunication
  • Morteza Razavi
  • Iran Helicopter Support and Renewal Company (PANHA)
  • Iran Aircraft Industries
  • Chinese-National Shi Yuhua
  • Pardazan System Namad Arman (PASNA)
  • Bochuang Ceramic, Inc.
  • Chinese National Zhu Yuequn

Sadegh Amoli Larijani is the head of Iran’s judiciary and the brother of Ali Larijani who is the influential conservative speaker of the Iranian parliament.

The statement made reference to the ongoing protests in Iran that started on December 28. “We are targeting the Iranian regime, including the head of Iran’s judiciary, for its appalling mistreatment of its citizens, including those imprisoned solely for exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly, and for censoring its own people as they stand up in protest against their government,” said treasury secretary Steven T Mnuchin. “We are also targeting Iran’s ballistic missile programme and destabilising activities, which it continues to prioritise over the economic well-being of the Iranian people” he added.

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The sanctions also target Chinese individuals and entities for their “support to designated Iranian weapons proliferators.”

By signing the third waiver, Mr Trump is giving the congress and Europeans a three-month period to reach an agreement that would keep the Iran nuclear deal in place but strengthen key provisions. Such agreement would need to be reached before May 15.

Mr Trump signed the waiver but accused the Iranian regime for being “the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. It enables Hizbollah, Hamas, and many other terrorists to sow chaos and kill innocent people. It has funded, armed, and trained more than 100,000 militants to spread destruction across the Middle East. It props up the murderous regime of Bashar Al Assad, and has helped him slaughter his own people” he said.

Within Iran, Mr Trump said, “the supreme leader and his Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps use mass arrests and torture to oppress and silence Iran’s people. Iran’s ruling elite has let their citizens go hungry while enriching themselves by stealing Iran’s national wealth.”

US President Donald Trump grudgingly agreed not to reimpose nuclear sanctions on Iran on January 12, 2018, but officials warned that it would be the last time he issues such a waiver. Saul Loeb/ AFP Photo
US President Donald Trump grudgingly agreed not to reimpose nuclear sanctions on Iran on January 12, 2018, but officials warned that it would be the last time he issues such a waiver. Saul Loeb/ AFP Photo

The US president laid out four conditions in any agreement to be reached with congress and Europeans.

First, “it must demand that Iran allow immediate inspections at all sites requested by international inspectors”.

Second, “it must ensure that Iran never even comes close to possessing a nuclear weapon.”

Third, “unlike the nuclear deal, these provisions must have no expiration date. My policy is to deny Iran all paths to a nuclear weapon — not just for ten years, but forever”.

Mr Trump threatened that if “Iran does not comply with any of these provisions, American nuclear sanctions would automatically resume”.

Fourth, he said: “The legislation must explicitly state in United States law — for the first time — that long-range missile and nuclear weapons programmes are inseparable, and that Iran’s development and testing of missiles should be subject to severe sanctions.”

French president Emmanuel Macron spoke with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and pressed the importance of maintaining Iran’s nuclear accord, the Elysee Palace said on Saturday. The telephone exchange took place on Friday, but it was not immediately clear whether it came before or after Mr Trump' gave the nuclear deal a final reprieve.