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Iran nuclear deal set for reprieve as Trump prepares to extend waivers

14 Enero 2018

The Iranian government said on Saturday that it refused to renegotiate the terms of its 2015 nuclear deal, following comments from US President Donald Trump about the deal's "terrible flaws".

Trump says the deal has flaws.

On Thursday Iran sanctions expert Jonathan Schanzer from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies tweeted, "A US official I spoke to today believes Iranian expenditures on foreign adventures, nuclear research and missiles, coupled with losses from graft and corruption, have cost the regime $150b".

The United States has placed sanctions on Iran's head of judiciary Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, among 14 other individuals and entities, over "serious human rights abuses".

President Donald Trump waived nuclear-related sanctions on Iran on Friday, keeping the US in an international deal governing its nuclear program for the time being.

In October, Trump said he would not certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear agreement that was negotiated under the previous administration because it was "in violation of the spirit" of the accord.

US regulations require the president to endorse JCPOA every 90 days and extend waivers of economic sanctions against Iran every 120 days.

In July 2015, Iran and six major powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States - struck an accord formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in which Iran pledged to curb activities such as uranium enrichment. Under the current deal they are set to expire in 2025.

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) didn't like the idea of waiving Iran's nuclear sanctions. U.S. and other officials have complained that Iran's ballistic-missile program can easily be converted for nuclear use. "The Iranian regime is the world's leading state sponsor of terror".

"And this is why we appeal to all our allies, also to the United States, to help keep the deal alive and fill it with yet more life", he added.

Trump, who has sharply criticized the deal reached during Democrat Barack Obama's presidency, had privately chafed at having to once again waive sanctions on a country he sees as a rising threat in the Middle East. Now he seeks to pressure EU countries to do it instead.

One senior administration official said Trump would be open to remaining in a modified deal if it were made permanent. The last time Trump issued a waiver was in September 2017.

Trump had faced a Friday deadline to decide on whether to waive the sanctions.

This would not entail negotiations with Iran, the official said, but rather would be the result of talks between the United States and its European allies. It prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons while offering sanctions relief to allow the Islamic Republic to participate in international commerce and banking.

The European Union also has not given any sign of wanting to renegotiate the deal.

Iran nuclear deal set for reprieve as Trump prepares to extend waivers