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Extension of U.S.-Sanctions against Iran | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage after a group picture with foreign ministers and representatives of the U.S., Iran, China, Russia, Britain, Germany, France and the European Union during the Iran nuclear talks at the Vienna International Center. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

Washington, London – U.S. President Barack Obama allowed on Thursday U.S. sanctions against Iran to be renewed, but have rejected in a surprise move to actually sign the legislation that brings the sanctions into force.

The U.S. president was expected to sign the legislation, but he symbolically let slide a midnight deadline Wednesday, set for him to sign the measure, saying it was unnecessary and that the 10-year sanctions against Iran would automatically renew to become a law.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement: “The extension of the Iran Sanctions Act is becoming law without the president’s signature.”

He said the current U.S. administration has made clear that an extension of the Iran Sanctions Act, while unnecessary, is entirely consistent with the U.S. commitments in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

In Iran, Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, the spokesman for Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, called the renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) a “certain violation” of the nuclear deal. He said, “At least eight articles in the ISA are considered completely new nuclear sanctions… We believe that the Americans were never trying to implement the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], and they still are not.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke on Thursday about the importance of implementing the Iran “nuclear deal” and said it was “a top strategic objective” for his country.

“Ensuring the continued implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is a top strategic objective for the United States and for our allies and partners around the world. The JCPOA makes our nation, and the entire world, safer by verifiably ensuring Iran cannot develop a nuclear weapon,” Kerry said.

Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign-policy chief, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal issued on Thursday there is a possibility that U.S. president elect Donald Trump withdraws from the Iran “Nuclear Deal.” Mogherini said the U.S. position might create a clash between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who helped secure the deal.