Iran condemns new U.S. sanctions, responds with its own

"We receive contradictory signals, so we don't know how to interpret it", Zarif told the Council on Foreign Relations in NY, adding that "Iran is serious about the nuclear deal" and will continue to comply with its restrictions on nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions.

In May, the administration announced it would keep waiving nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, but that it was imposing new sanctions on the Islamic Republic over its ballistic missile program.

The US state department had also designated two other Iranian organisations involved in Iran's ballistic missile programme, according to the treasury department.

Monday, Trump's administration certified to Congress that Iran is technically complying with the landmark 2015 nuclear deal - but noted that the country "remains one of the most unsafe to USA interests and regional stability".

The senior official, speaking on background, said the White House believes Iran remains one of the most risky governments, and cited as evidence Tehran's support for terrorism, continuing hostility to Israel, cyberattacks against the United States and numerous human-rights abuses.

"Iran is a serious partner for all these countries in fighting a common enemy because we believe at the end of the day. these extremist forces are as much a threat against us, but even more a threat against them", Zarif said.

Apart from nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, the USA argues that it retains the right to impose non-nuclear related sanctions on Iran as well despite the 2015 agreement.

During his presidential campaign, Trump has consistently criticized the landmark agreement, calling it "the worst deal ever", but had produced conflicting statement on whether the United States should pull out from it or keep it in place under certain conditions.

The danger here is that Trump's instincts are to trash the deal and to deny that Iran is in compliance despite the fact that Tehran has been complying with the agreement from the start. Since the Iran nuclear deal was reached in 2015, every few months the State Department would inform Congress that the Tehran government was in compliance.

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He said Iran was not designing missiles to carry nuclear warheads, which is banned under the nuclear deal, and that the country's missiles were only for self defense.

The senior official told reporters the White House believes Iran remains one of the most unsafe governments, and cited as evidence Tehran's support for terrorism, continuing hostility to Israel, cyber attacks against the United States and numerous human rights abuses.

"If we simply get out of the deal the Europeans will no longer be with us", the senior official said.

During the campaign, President Trump told the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC): "My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran".

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

Tillerson argued that allies needed more notice before stating Iran wasn't complying with the deal. If you want to lie about whether Iran has stuck to the deal, then just tweet out the lie and kill the treaty.

"Well, we've taken a route that has been prescribed within the nuclear deal..."

In a statement issued on Tuesday the department said the sanctions came after three networks reportedly supported Iran's military procurement "through the development of unmanned aerial vehicles and military equipment", as well as the production and maintenance of "fast attack boats".

  • Rita Burton