US Certifies Iran Complying With 2015 Nuclear Deal

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres

"We judge that these Iranian activities severely undermine the intent of the agreement as a force for global stability", the administration official said.

Hours after the White House admitted the Islamic republic was complying with a landmark 2015 nuclear deal, the State Department announced new sanctions against 18 individuals and entities in Iran.

Stressing that the U.S. was not going soft on Iran, officials said Washington was expected to implement new sanctions that pertain to Iran's ballistic missile programme and fast boat programme.

The move came a day after the Trump administration told the Congress that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal signed two years ago with the USA and other world powers, and as such would continue to be exempted from American sanctions.

"This administration will continue to aggressively target Iran's malign activity, including their ongoing state support of terrorism, ballistic missile program, and human rights abuses", said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin in a statement.

Mr. Tillerson and Mr. Trump intend to emphasize that Iran "remains one of the most risky threats" in the region, a senior official said.

Zarif said this "creates the impression in Iran that the United States hostility toward Iran will never end".

The administration is also looking at ways to strengthen the nuclear deal and more strictly enforce it, the official said, citing concerns that the deal over time would let Iran openly pursue industrial-scale nuclear fuel enrichment.

President Donald Trump has in the past bashed the nuclear deal, which was negotiated under his predecessor, Barack Obama, and he took office promising to re-evaluate or possibly kill the agreement.

Trump has recently called Iran a "rogue" state, which has aroused fierce response from Tehran.

"Today's sanctions against entities supporting #Iran's military and missile program are an important step forward", the lobby said on its Twitter feed.

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.

"He wants to get out of the deal, I think what we'll see at this point is a 90-day plan that McMaster and others are going to come up with to make it somehow a tighter enforcement situation where Trump can have some leeway to get out of the deal", Brody said.

"We do expect that we will be implementing new sanctions", he said.

At an hourlong meeting last Wednesday, all of the president's major security advisers recommended he preserve the Iran deal for now.

Read: Two Years Later, Where Does The Iran Deal Stand? . "It has also been more than a decade since Robert Levinson disappeared from Iran's Kish Island". "We are always open, my colleagues are on regular contact with American counterparts on the implementation of the nuclear deal", he said.

A senior commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guards warned the US on Monday that designating the group a terrorist organization and applying new sanctions could be perilous for USA forces in the region.

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