US Extends Iran Nuke Deal Sanctions Relief, Imposes New Ballistic Missile Sanctions

The decision on the sanctions waiver represents a major early policy choice on the nuclear deal for the Trump administration, which has said that it is engaged in a wider policy review on how to deal with Iran.

The White House has also increased other sanctions against Iran that were still in place but relaxed.

The Trump administration on May 17 announced it would continue with Obama-era waivers on sanctions linked to Iran's nuclear programme.

The new action comes just days after Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats disclosed to Congress that Iran is continuing to boost its ballistic missile program, including inter-continental ballistic missiles that are capable of delivering a nuclear payload.

Trump also announced late Wednesday that the USA didn't intend to limit Iran's ability to sell oil.

But for now, Trump seems to be abiding by the Iran deal.

The 68-year-old cleric, a moderate within Iran's political system, has history on his side when Iranians vote on Friday.

According to Reuters, the move lets Trump appear tough on Iran while not violating the 2015 agreement. They said abiding by the deal while enforcing sanctions over Iran's ballistic missile program and criticizing Iran's human rights abuses is consistent with the previous administration's approach.

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said: "We are taking action to curtail this behaviour".

The new sanctions specifically target Morteza Farasatpour, a top Iranian defense official, and Rahim Ahmadi, a senior Iranian official.

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On Tuesday, CNBC issued an extensive report on North Korea's nuclear work in which it quoted former Central Intelligence Agency agent Fred Fleitz, now with the Center for Security Policy, as saying there is "pretty credible information" indicating that North Korea and Iran have exchanged missile design and testing know-how in both directions. Such avoidance is particularly noteworthy in light of the Iranian missile tests and support for North Korean development, as these things had been part of a pattern or defiant gestures and statements implying readiness for war. Shiraz is controlled by the Iranian military, supplying it with missile guidance technology.

The nuclear agreement eased crippling economic sanctions on Iran in return for imposing strict limits on its nuclear program.

Matin Sanat has aided an Iranian chemical company responsible for producing Iran's liquid-fueled ballistic missile industry.

The existence of the new Treasury sanctions and State Department human rights report have not previously been reported. Iran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2015, agreeing to significantly curb operations at its nuclear facilities in return for the lifting of global oil and banking sanctions. "We will choose the one who shoulders responsibility".

Under the terms of the 2015 deal, the previous US administration of President Barack Obama agreed to waive sanctions on Iran's nuclear program in return for strict controls to prevent it from developing atomic weapons.

Although Iran is a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention and has promised to dismantle its chemical weapons arsenal, the US State Department in 2013 said that it had no accurate intelligence that proved that Iran had complied with the convention. By ratifying the plan, Iran agreed to scale down its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

In a statement, Stuart Jones, an acting assistant secretary at State, said the administration would continue to waive sanctions as required under the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Update 1:57 p.m.: This post has been updated with more information.

Update 2:20 p.m.: This post has been updated with further information.

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