Iran threatens 'severe' response to United States sanctions against judiciary chief

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Trump warned that he would scrap the agreement limiting Iran's nuclear program - an accord he has long despised - unless European countries "join with the United States in fixing significant flaws in the deal".

In a press release, the organization, whose stated mission is "promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies", said that Trump "dodged a bullet" by waiving sanctions on Iran in accordance with U.S. commitments under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He said Iran's restraint on long-range ballistic missile programs also must be linked to sanctions relief. After a meeting in Brussels, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said while there are concerns about Iran's development of ballistic missiles and other activities in the Middle East, those should be dealt with as a separate issue.

A decision to withhold a waiver would have effectively ended the deal between Iran and the other worldwide signatories.

"Today, we unfortunately see an individual having assumed power in the United States who has so little understanding that he describes entire nations with obscene and unacceptable and even unbelievable words", Zarif said, referring to but not naming Trump, who on Thursday described El Salvador, Haiti, and certain African nations as "shithole" countries. "But the clear reluctance with which he has issued the sanctions waivers will continue to weigh on the business community", said Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, founder of the Europe-Iran Forum, a business network.

Iran said it would neither accept changes or new obligations.

The new terms Trump seeks with the European countries appear similar to actions he asked Congress to take three months ago but that Congress has not acted on.

He had called for a crackdown on "rioters" and "vandals" following a recent spate of anti-government protests in Iranian cities.

The sanctioning of Larijani, the most prominent of the United States targets, could have "serious political impact inside Iran", a senior Trump administration official predicted Friday.

Many European leaders have made clear for months that they agree with global inspectors that Iran is abiding by limits on its nuclear program set out in the deal it made with the US under former President Barack Obama and five other world powers.

Robert Malley, who worked on the National Security Council under former President Barack Obama, said, "In a nutshell, he's saying, 'Kill the deal with me, or we'll kill it alone'".

The JCPOA was signed by Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the U.S., and the EU.

It said the sanctions are against worldwide law and go against US commitments, saying they would bring a "strong reaction" from Iran. And it also has a very bad misreading of the nuclear accord, because the accord imposes some restrictions that are long-term, such as restrictive monitoring of Iran's facilities under the additional protocol which will continue forever and Iran will legislate it, if the deal keeps going, if it is not scuttled. They note that since the deal was signed, Iran has continued to hold some Americans and other Westerners in jail. The Arms Control Association says that, were Washington to permanently deprive Iran of a nuclear program, it would be a direct violation of the JCPOA.

In return, decades of worldwide and U.S. nuclear-related sanctions were suspended. Or it could keep its end of the bargain and continue doing business with other countries in the deal - France, Germany, China and Russian Federation - and isolate the U.S.

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