China lodged an official protest with the United States today over new USA sanctions on Iran that target a Chinese business tied to Tehran's ballistic missile programme.
U.S. -Iran relations have become more hostile than ever as the White House takes an aggressive posture toward Tehran over test-firing a ballistic missile that could raise tensions in the already chaotic region. The agreement involved the USA, the United Kingdom, the EU, Russia, China and Germany. But Washington must issue periodic waivers to keep the penalties from snapping back into place, and the most recent one was set to expire this week.
Trump as a candidate vowed to renegotiate or tear up the nuclear deal.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Thursday denounced the new series of sanctions imposed by the US on its ballistic missile programme, calling them illegal and unacceptable.
Wednesday's sanctions target Iranian military officials along with an Iranian company and China-based network accused of supplying Iran with materials for ballistic missiles, the State Department said.
The US administration is re-evaluating its relationship with Iran, including whether to remain a party to the nuclear deal.
Richard Nephew, a former U.S. negotiator with Iran now at Columbia University, called the renewal an "important step" in maintaining the deal but said it was still threatened by "congressional pressure, Republican politics, and the views of many people" in the Trump administration.More news: Immigration authorities cut Cuban Marielito's release short
Mr Trump has consistently warned Iran over its missile activity, and has criticised the terms of the deal made by Mr Obama - at one point claiming his "number one priority" if elected would be "to dismantle the disastrous deal".But the other nations involved in the agreement - including China, Russia, and the United Kingdom - believe it is the best way to prevent Iran getting a nuclear weapon. That was a relief to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who made the 2015 nuclear deal the centerpiece of his efforts to end Iran's isolation and rebuild its economy with foreign investment. It also has clinched bigger deals with trans-Atlantic rivals Airbus and Boeing.
The Iranian government and some Iranian citizens have been disappointed that US, EU and United Nations sanctions relief provided so far under the nuclear deal has failed to spark an economic renaissance.
Jones' remarks accompanied the State Department's semi-annual report to Congress on sanctions targeting Iran's human rights abuses.
Raisi has sought to portray the nuclear deal as an empty promise perpetrated by Iran's adversaries, calling it "a check the government has been unable to cash". He is a conservative cleric backed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the paramilitary Basij, security forces that wield sizable political and economic clout. He is seen by many as close to Mr Khamenei and has even been talked about as a possible successor to him. In a matter of a couple of months, Iran could have a workable bomb.
In retaliation for the new USA sanctions, Iran said it had added nine American individuals and companies to its own list of 15 US companies for alleged human rights violations and cooperation with Israel, its archenemy. The dual track sanctions policy shows that the major review of U.S. Iranian policy ordered by the president is not complete, and for the foreseeable future, Iran will continue to enjoy the economic benefits of sanctions relief.
"The deal won't go anywhere next week", said Suzanne Maloney, an Iran analyst at the Brookings Institution.