Russia says US Iran sanctions undermine nuclear deal

United States President Donald Trump speaks during the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Tuesday Sept. 19 2017. | AP

United States President Donald Trump speaks during the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Tuesday Sept. 19 2017. | AP

Iran says it has the right to nuclear energy and insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only. It seems both sides are trying to get the other to renege on the agreement first - and if so, Trump's tough talk at the United Nations might have been an attempt to bait Hassan Rouhani and the mullahs into exiting the pact. Some news organizations are reporting today that President Trump may decide to throw the matter to Congress, let Congress decide whether to reimpose sanctions.

As Trump plays reality host and teases the decision, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani is warning him not withdraw from the deal.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Iran is in "technical compliance" with the deal, but he said it's failing to live up to the expectation that the agreement would remove a "serious threat" to the region.

Nothing has changed other than the US response to North Korea.

'It's time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran's government end its pursuit of death and destruction'.

It has also evaded signing the NPT amid staunch endeavor by the United States and other Western states on worldwide levels in favor of its non-commitment to the accord.

Meanwhile, in a meeting between Zarif and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Mualem, the two sides discussed the latest developments on Syria's political arena and the battlefield in the fight against terrorism and issues of common interest.

As President Donald Trump took the world stage Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly to deliver a speech, world leaders were stoic and quiet, barely reacting to his remarks about their countries.

'This wealth, which rightly belongs to Iran's people, also goes to shore up Bashar al-Assad's dictatorship, fuel Yemen's civil war and undermine peace throughout the Middle East, ' he said. "By suggesting he would revisit and possibly cancel the Iran nuclear agreement, he greatly escalated the danger we face from both Iran and North Korea".

Iran rejects that it has broken the agreement, and a United Nations report this month pointed to no Iranian violations.

"Whether we can agree, that's another thing", Tillerson said.

CHANG: Even so, is there a part of you that thinks maybe the US could have gotten a better deal - for instance, terms in there that could have addressed Iran's support for militant groups or terms that could have addressed holding Americans in prison?

President Donald Trump's new line on Iran will mean a fundamental shift in Washington's Iran strategy, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said in USA media interviews, while accusing Tehran of "destabilizing activity".

On Wednesday, Trump told reporters that he has made a decision regarding the Iran deal, but did not reveal any specifics.

KELLY: One other key point of disagreement, which is whether Iran is already in violation of the deal.

Rouhani rejected this, condemning what he said was "the ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric filled with ridiculously baseless allegations that were uttered before this august body yesterday". "You're not violating the agreement, '" Tillerson said. The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.

"Iran does not seek to restore its ancient empire, impose its official religion on others, or export its revolution through the force of arms", he said.

Trump has sent strong signals that he could walk away from the seven-nation agreement, which would potentially lead to new USA sanctions on Iran and its global trading partners. The Iranians, in turn, have threatened to respond to any US pullout by restarting nuclear activities that could take them closer to bomb-making capability. "But such unfortunate behaviour will never impede Iran's course of progress and advancement", Rouhani said, an apparent reference to Trump's repeated hints.

In any event, the U.S.

"Now we will all try to convince the Americans in the remaining weeks ... that calling the agreement into question will not increase security", Gabriel said. "We definitely [do] not need to go into a second one", European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said, referring to the North Korea nuclear standoff. And I think that's a very unsafe thing, especially when he's trying to deal with the same countries, Iran - with Russian Federation and China to deal with North Korea. In the current environment, it is anything but ordinary.

However, he also appeared to open the door for tougher action on Iran, saying the deal was insufficient given Iran's growing regional influence since 2015.

The deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was reached between Iran and six other countries - France, Russia, China, Britain, Germany, and the USA - in July 2015 and took effect in January 2016. The Europeans, in particular, have expressed their disapproval of Trump's threats and talked about trying to lobby the U.S.to abide by the accord.

Trump can still go it alone, of course, but don't expect much impact if he does.

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