Trump Administration Sending 'Contradictory Signals' To Iran, Zarif Says

Donald Trump Benjamin Netanyahu

The US government on Tuesday slapped sanctions on 18 Iranian entities and individuals linked to Iran's ballistic missile programme and other non-nuclear activities.

While lifting nuclear-linked sanctions, the United States maintains sanctions related to Iran's ballistic missile program, human rights record and what Washington charges is its support for global terrorism.

The senior administration official said the Trump administration meant to employ a strategy that would "address the totality of Iran's malign behavior" and not just focus on the Iran nuclear agreement. They argued that the deal is structured so that the USA and its allies delivered the benefits to Iran up front.

On Monday, after talking points for certifying Iran's compliance already had been distributed within the administration, Trump told senior advisors he was having second thoughts and wanted other options.

In an hour-long meeting last week, according to The New York Times, Trump spent 55 minutes telling some of his highest-ranking national security advisers that he wanted to abandon the Iran deal.

Trump has recently called Iran a "rogue" state, which has aroused fierce response from Tehran. Because the administration will have to certify that the deal is in the national security interests of the US every 90 days, those saboteurs will have numerous opportunities to lobby Trump to change his mind.

The agreement was opposed by most Republicans, specially hawks who argued the administration had squandered a chance to compel the Iranian government reeling under the debilitating effects of the sanctions to give up its nuclear programme entirely instead of settling on a temporary freeze.

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Finally, even if Trump decides to keep re-certifying Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal, the Iranians have started hinting that they consider the non-nuclear sanctions imposed by the U.S.to be violations of the agreement.

The new sanctions, according to the representative of the White House, will be created to counter large-scale expansion of Iran's Armed Forces, as well as its operations in Syria and the Middle East in general.

"That's very clear in black and white in the report of the IAEA, which is hardly a sympathizer of Iran", Zarif said. If you want to lie about whether Iran has stuck to the deal, then just tweet out the lie and kill the treaty.

Earlier this year Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt all cut off diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of financing Islamist militant groups and allying with Iran - allegations Qatar denies.

The nuclear deal was agreed in Vienna in July 2015 after long-lasting negotiations initiated by five major world powers, including China, France, Germany, Russia, the USA and Britain. Iran remains on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism for its support for Hezbollah and other Shia militia groups, including in Iraq, Syria and Bahrain.

The announcement came alongside a statement by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who accused Iran of funding terrorist groupings, violating human rights and nurturing plans for a ballistic missile program.

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