Saturday, December 17, 2016

Iran Claims US Violated Nuclear Deal, Requests Review

Iran has asked for an emergency meeting with the six-nation commission that agreed in 2015 to end crippling economic sanctions against Tehran so that it can hear complaints about the extension of some U.S. penalties despite the accord.

The official Iranian news agency said Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sent a request for the meeting of the so-called P5+1 nations through the European Union. There was no immediate EU comment Saturday.

The request followed a White House statement Thursday that legislation allowing for the extension of some sanctions against Iran for 10 more years would become law without President Barack Obama’s signature.

The 2015 nuclear deal, negotiated with Iran by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, eased wide-ranging economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program.

Obama suspended those sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program as part of the 2015 nuclear deal, but keeping them on the books would allow an incoming president to use the sanctions if seen fit.

Tehran said the U.S. sanctions renewal violated the 2015 accord, and this week it ordered its scientists to begin developing systems for nuclear powered ships.

For their part, leading U.S. lawmakers of both parties appeared unconcerned earlier this month about Iran’s displeasure with the sanctions renewal authorization, while discounting threats from Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani to retaliate.

South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsay Graham called Iran’s reaction “bluster” and warned that more sanctions could be levied in 2017.

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, describing Iran as “the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism,” told VOA he did not care about Tehran’s threats.

Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland said U.S. citizens, both civilian and military, had been “victims” of Iranian-sponsored terrorism. He and others cited Iran-backed militia fighting alongside Syrian forces loyal to the Damascus government, and Tehran-backed Houthi rebels battling to oust the internationally recognized government in Yemen.

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