Iran says it will retaliate against 'hostile' US sanctions


An Iranian government official on Saturday said that Iran would pursue its ballistic missile program despite US pressure, and slammed US President Donald Trump for his "irrational behavior", calling him the "most hated president in American history".

"This is a last chance", Trump said in a statement. The deal aims to prevent Iran from creating nuclear weapons while allowing the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Trump's decision to again waive the sanctions related to the 2015 accord was recommended by his entire national security team, including National Security Adviser HR McMaster, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Russia, which played a key role in mediating the 2015 deal, says that any such move by Trump to scrap the deal would be a colossal foreign policy debacle for the United States.

But the president also promised to scrap the landmark agreement in 120 days if Congress and European allies don't meet his new demands for strengthening the deal - throwing down the gauntlet on a signature achievement of Barack Obama's presidency. It has said it will abide by the agreement as long as other signatories do, but warned that it would "shred" the deal should Washington pull out.

Iran's foreign ministry in a statement ruled out any renegotiation of the terms, saying it "will not accept any changes in this agreement now or in the future" nor allow it to be linked to any other issue. USA and other officials have complained that Iran's ballistic-missile program can easily be converted for nuclear use.

On a tweet on Friday, Mohammed Javad Zarif, the foreign relations minister in Iran said that the United States must be in strict adherence to the terms of the deal just like what was expected of Tehran. The deal, negotiated by the Obama administration is centered exclusively on the Iranian's nuclear weapons program.

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Trump, the same day he waived the nuclear sanctions, imposed new sanctions on Iran for its human rights abuses and its military adventurism.

It would target Iran's missile program and not simply its nuclear industry, and it would mandate United Nations inspections of Iranian sites.

Trump also wants Congress to modify a law that reviews USA participation in the nuclear deal to include "trigger points" that if violated would lead to the United States reimposing its sanctions, the official said.

Mr Trump has repeatedly criticised the accord, while Iran has accused the United States of failing to comply with it.

Iran's Foreign Ministry has announced that the country will commit to no obligations beyond those it has already agreed to under an worldwide nuclear deal.

Britain, France and Germany had called on Trump on Thursday to uphold the pact.