Donald Trump’s White House has renewed sanctions relief for Iran, despite the US president’s past criticism. The easing of sanctions is part of a crucial nuclear deal brokered in 2015 under then-President Barack Obama with five other world powers.
Trump has described the landmark agreement as the “worst deal ever”. However, the US Treasury issued fresh sanctions against specific officials and a Chinese business with links to Iran’s missile programme. The move means that sanctions preventing any US companies selling to or dealing with Iran will remain suspended for the time being.
In return, Iran has pledged to restrict its nuclear activities, reducing its uranium enrichment, plutonium production plans, and allowing inspectors access to facilities.
The new sanctions from the Treasury are much more specific in scope, targeting two senior Iranian defense officials and suppliers of missile equipment, in apparent retaliation for a recent missile test, and for Iran’s support of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
US citizens and entities are now banned from dealing with the officials and companies involved.
However, the White House stopped short of failing to renew the waivers on more widespread sanctions, which are not permanent and were due to expire this week.
This is the first time Mr Trump has been faced with the issue, after former Obama renewed the agreement shortly before he left office.