Iran says extension of sanctions act
shows U.S. unreliable
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[December 03, 2016]
DUBAI (Reuters) - A U.S. Senate vote
to extend the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) for 10 years shows the world that
Washington cannot be relied upon to act on its commitments, Iranian
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday.
Iran has vowed to retaliate against the ISA extension, passed
unanimously on Thursday, saying it violated last year's agreement with
six major powers to curb its nuclear program in return for lifting of
international financial sanctions.
"To the world community, the extension of sanctions against Iran shows
the unreliability of the American government," state broadcaster IRIB
quoted Zarif as saying on arriving in India for an official visit.
"America is acting against its commitment."
U.S. officials said the ISA renewal would not infringe the nuclear
agreement. U.S. lawmakers have also said the ISA extension would make it
easier for sanctions to be quickly reimposed if Iran contravened the
But Iran's nuclear energy chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, who played a central
role in reaching the nuclear deal, described the extension as a "clear
violation" if implemented.
The diplomatic thaw between Washington and Tehran over the past two
years looks in jeopardy with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump taking
office next month. He said during his election campaign that he would
scrap the nuclear agreement.
The U.S. Senate vote was a blow to pragmatist Iranian President Hassan
Rouhani, who engineered the diplomatic opening to the West that led to
the nuclear deal.
"The (nuclear accord) is the result of efforts by seven countries, and
one country should not be allowed to weaken it," state news agency IRNA
on Saturday reported Rouhani as saying.
Last month, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that the
extension would be viewed in Tehran as a breach of the nuclear accord
and threatened retaliation.
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Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is pictured after
meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun at the presidential
palace in Baabda, near Beirut, Lebanon November 7, 2016.
Behrouz Nemati, spokesman for parliament's presiding board, was
quoted by state television on Saturday as saying MPs would introduce
a measure on Sunday demanding the government "return to initial
(nuclear) enrichment conditions" before the deal.
Another group of lawmakers plan to introduce a bill on Sunday to ban
"the purchase of U.S. consumer goods including animal and
agricultural products", IRIB reported.
Such a bill could also endanger deals including U.S. planemaker
Boeing's tentative accord to sell passenger jets to Iran, upgrading
a fleet long deteriorating due to sanctions.
Khamenei and his hardline loyalists have criticized the deal and
blamed Rouhani for its failure to deliver swift improvements in
living standards since sanctions were lifted in January.
(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; editing by Susan Thomas)
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