Washington, July 18 (IANS) The Trump administration has certified to Congress that Iran is continuing to meet the required conditions of its international nuclear agreement but officials said President Donald Trump intends to impose new sanctions on Iran for ongoing “malign activities” in non-nuclear areas.
Trump had repeatedly condemned the nuclear deal brokered by his predecessor Barack Obama as a dangerous capitulation to Iran. The decision on Monday was the second time his administration certified Iran’s compliance and aides said a frustrated Trump had told his security team that he would not keep doing so indefinitely, the New York Times reported.
“The President has made very clear that he thought this was a bad deal — a bad deal for the US,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.
The administration officials said that they intended to toughen enforcement of the deal, apply new sanctions on Iran for its support of terrorism and other destabilising activities like ballistic missile development. They also plan to negotiate with European partners to craft a broader strategy to increase pressure on Tehran.
“We judge that these Iranian activities severely undermine the intent of the agreement as a force for international stability,” the administration official said.
Iran is “unquestionably in default of the spirit of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action”, that took effect in January 2016 after years of negotiations, the official said.
The last certification of Iranian compliance, in April, was also followed by new sanctions on Iranian individuals and companies the administration said played a role in ballistic missile tests that are not covered by the nuclear agreement.
“We do expect to be implementing new sanctions related to missiles and Iran’s fast boat programme,” the official said, but declined to specify what the measures would be. The administration had charged Iran with using military patrol boats to impede free navigation in the Persian Gulf.
“The Secretary of State and the President intends to emphasise that Iran remains one of the most dangerous threats to the US and to regional security,” another senior administration official said.
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said earlier on Monday that Iran received “contradictory signals” from the Trump administration and confirmed he has had no contact with his American counterpart, Rex Tillerson, CNN reported.
Zarif argued the US’s failure to build on the foundation of trust created by the Iran nuclear deal suggested “the US hostility to Iran will not end”.