19 July, 2017
Tuesday's sanctions came after the US Senate in June overwhelmingly passed legislation to strengthen sanctions against Iran for its ballistic missile testing and other non-nuclear provocations.
The new sanctions are not nuclear-related and do not violate the nuclear agreement with Iran, Free Beacon reported citing a U.S. official. The sanctions also target what the US says is a transnational criminal group based in Iran and three people associated with it.
McMaster was sharply critical of the Obama administration's "myopic focus on Iran's nuclear program to the exclusion of Iran's many other malign activities" and insisted that the decision to recertify the agreement is part of a policy to address "the totality of the Iran problem".
Trump pledged throughout the 2016 campaign to withdraw the US from the nuclear agreement and his White House has repeatedly emphasized he views it as "a bad deal".
"Never, ever, ever, in my life have I seen any transaction so incompetently negotiated as our deal with Iran", Trump said September 9, 2015, during a Tea Party rally.
"The secretary of state and the president intend to emphasize that Iran remains one of the most unsafe threats to US interests and to regional security", a senior administration official said on a conference call.
"We need to ensure more aggressively they are in compliance with the letter of the [agreement]", an official said.
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Zarif said that for the United States it is "more important to maintain the sanctions that remain" on Iran "rather than remove the sanctions that have been lifted".
"The president has made very clear his desire to fix the many flaws in the deal". Although the language was toughened to add the declaration that Iran is "in default of the spirit" of the deal, Iran will continue receiving the same sanctions relief that it did under former President Barack Obama.
The Iran nuclear deal was negotiated in July 2015 between Iran, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany. By law, the USA must issue certification every 90 days.
"If it comes to a major violation, or what in the terms of the nuclear deal is called significant nonperformance, then Iran has other options available, including withdrawing from the deal", he added.
But unfortunately, he said, the U.S. has not complied, and the six parties to the agreement will be meeting in Vienna on Friday to examine Iran's complaints about the United States failure to carry out its obligations.
The move came hours after the White House grudgingly said Tehran was complying with the terms of an global deal to dismantle its nuclear programme but was breaching the spirit of the agreement by continuing to destabilise the Middle East. Administration officials on Monday said the Treasury Department was still reviewing a proposed sale of civilian airliners from Boeing to Iran's largest airline.
In addition to earmarking an additional $260 million for its ballistic missile program, Iran's parliament also agreed Tuesday to allot a similar amount to the Revolutionary Guards' foreign operations wing, the Quds Force, accused by Washington of fomenting unrest across the region.
Mohammed Javad Zarif, the Foreign Minister of Iran, defended the Regime's compliance with the deal, on Monday.