Iran threatens to hit back at US over new sanctions

Iran on Saturday condemned the new sanctions imposed by the US on a number of its citizens and entities and threatened to retaliate.

The move comes a day after US President Donald Trump extended waivers of key economic sanctions on Iran for another 120 days “for the last time” unless some “terrible flaws” in the 2015 nuclear deal were not fixed within that deadline.

Trump’s administration imposed new sanctions on 14 Iranian individuals and entities including Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani, the Iranian Judiciary chief.

Iran’s foreign ministry (pictured) said in a statement that the nuclear deal is an internationally recognized and concluded pact and is, hence, non-negotiable.

Tehran will not accept any changes or new obligations to deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The US government is duty bound to fulfil its obligations under the JCPOA and must face the consequences in case of violation.

The US has “crossed a red line” by imposing sanctions on Larijani, the ministry said.

The move to impose new sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities only exposes Washington’s animosity towards Tehran, it said.

Shortly after Trump extended the sanctions waiver on Friday with a call to fix “terrible flaws” in the 2015 deal, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the deal “is not renegotiable”.

Trump’s policy and Friday’s announcement amount to desperate attempts by the US to undermine a solid multilateral agreement.

Instead of repeating the tired rhetoric of more sanctions, the US must bring itself into full compliance of the deal just like Iran.

Under JCPOA, Tehran has to put limits on its nuclear programme in exchange for termination of the nuclear-related sanctions.

The deal, which was signed by the US under the previous administration of President Barack Obama along with Iran, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, went into force in January 2016 and it is working.

So far, the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency has issued nine reports all of which show Iran’s full compliance to the terms of the agreement.

All signatories to the nuclear deal accept that it is the best available solution to keep Iran’s nuclear activities under close watch and check.

Trump is now demanding a new deal to impose fresh sanctions on Iran.

Responding to Trump’s insistence on a new deal, Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov observed that the US president is trying to force changes to the deal “with a bulldozer,” Interfax news agency said.