Threat of nuclear pact changes draws ire of Iran

US President Donald Trump was meeting with his top security advisors on Iran sanctions reliefSAUL LOEB

Tehran on Saturday said they would retaliate against the embargos imposed by the United States on Iran's judiciary head as President Donald Trump stepped up efforts to "fix" a nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran.

The US Treasury said Larijani, the brother of Iran's parliamentary speaker and former nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, is to blame for the torture and degrading treatment of prisoners. Trump wants them to help the USA devise a new agreement created to prevent Iran from escalating nuclear activity again next decade, as permitted under the 2015 arrangement reached by President Barack Obama.

Senior U.S. administration officials told reporters Trump would work with Europeans on a follow-on deal to enshrine triggers that the Iranian government could not exceed related to ballistic missiles.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, on Friday accused Trump of "desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement", while European leaders have urged "all parties to continue to fully implement this agreement". "In the absence of such an agreement, the USA will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal". Officials, congressional aides and outside administration advisers said had the president would likely extend the sanctions waivers, citing progress in amending US legislation that governs Washington's participation in the deal.

"Instead, I have outlined two possible paths forward: either fix the deal's disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw".

The US also declared sanctions against 14 entities and people, including Iran's head of judiciary Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani.

He said it gave Iran "far too much in exchange for far too little", and demanded a new agreement that would impose fresh sanctions on Iran if it developed or tested long-range missiles, thwarted inspections or made any progress towards a nuclear weapon.

Trump will next have to deal with these decisions in mid-May.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last week that he was working with Congress on legislative changes that would "strengthen the way the US enforces the agreement".

United Nations inspectors have certified Iran's compliance with the deal nine times, most recently in November.

French President Emmanuel Macron, in a telephone call with Trump on Thursday, emphasized France's "determination to see the strict application of the deal and the importance of all the signatories to respect it", Macron's office said.

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