Iran threatens to retaliate against new U.S. sanctions

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European Union powers on Thursday urged U.S. President Donald Trump to endorse a key nuclear agreement with Iran saying the deal is essential for worldwide security.

"In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal".

"This is a last chance".

"Instead, I have outlined two possible paths forward: either fix the deal's disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw".

Speaking in Moscow on January 13, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow was "alarmed" by the latest US steps, adding that Russia believes "the USA has already made its internal decision" to withdraw from the agreement with Iran.

While Trump approved the sanctions waiver, the Treasury Department chose to impose new, targeted sanctions against 14 Iranian entities and people.

People the U.S. sanctioned on Friday include Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani, the head of Iran's judiciary whose brother, Ali Larijani, leads Iran's parliament.

The legislation allows the Treasury Secretary to imposes travel bans and other sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities accused of human rights violations and other abuses. The Treasury Department's action hits 14 Iranian officials and companies and businessmen from Iran, China and Malaysia, freezing any assets they have in the USA and banning Americans from doing business with them.

"In what we heard yesterday, I don't see any invitation for Iran to enter dialogue", he said.

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The pact is underpinned on the USA side by a presidential waiver of nuclear-related sanctions on Iran's central bank.

If Iran does not comply with any of these provisions, American nuclear sanctions would automatically resume.

But the administration said these negotiations with Europe will not include Iran, which seems to run counter to United Nations and European insistence that any changes made in the deal include all parties.

Federica Mogherini, the European Union's foreign policy chief, said earlier this week that the "deal is working; it is delivering on its main goal, which means keeping the Iranian nuclear programme in check and under close surveillance".

The EU said it had taken note of Mr Trump's decision and would assess its implications.

The JCPOA aimed to gradually lift economic and diplomatic sanctions on Tehran in exchange for Iran ending its nuclear program.

This approach is unlikely to work, given that it places the onus upon allies - who publicly don't want to alter or jeopardize the deal - to tighten it up in ways Iran will find unacceptable, Paton Walsh said.

European signatories to the deal have pressured the United States to stick to the accord.

As a presidential candidate, Trump threatened to shred what he's called "the worst deal ever". Iran must allow "immediate inspections at all sites requested by global inspectors", he said, and "sunset" provisions imposing limits on Iran's nuclear programme must not expire. "We are also targeting Iran's ballistic missile program and destabilizing activities, which it continues to prioritize over the economic well-being of the Iranian people". Trump is also waiving other US penalties covered by the agreement, including on Iran's oil and gas sectors, which were up for renewal next week.

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