Iran has vowed to fight back against sanctions imposed on its judiciary head by the US, as President Donald Trump steps up efforts to “fix” a nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers.
On Friday (local time), Mr Trump said he would waive nuclear sanctions against Iran for the last time to give Washington and its European allies a chance to fix the “terrible flaws” of the 2015 nuclear deal.
Washington also announced sanctions against 14 entities and people, including the head of Iran’s judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani.
“The Trump regime’s hostile action [against Larijani] … crossed all red lines of conduct in the international community and is a violation of international law and will surely be answered by a serious reaction of the Islamic Republic,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by state media.
On Friday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter Mr Trump’s decision undermined the multilateral agreement.
Iran said on Saturday it would not accept any changes to its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
In a statement carried by the state-run IRNA news agency, the Foreign Ministry said Iran “will not accept any change in the deal, neither now nor in future” adding that it will “not take any action beyond its commitments”.
It also said Iran would not allow the deal to be linked to other issues, after Mr Trump suggested that the sanctions relief under the deal be tied to Iran limiting its long-range ballistic missile program.
Trump will work to remove deal’s ‘sunset clauses’
Mr Trump extended the waivers of key economic sanctions that were lifted under the agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program.
But he said he would work with European allies to remove so-called “sunset clauses” that allowed Iran to gradually resume advanced nuclear activities in the next decade.
Mr Trump said in a statement, “despite my strong inclination, I have not yet withdrawn the United States from the Iran nuclear deal”, saying this was the last chance to fix it.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called Trump’s remarks “extremely negative”, RIA state news agency reported.
“Our worst fears are being confirmed,” he said.
The President laid out several conditions for a fix to the deal that would keep the United States in.
He said Iran must allow “immediate inspections at all sites requested by international inspectors” and that provisions preventing Iran from possessing a nuclear weapon must not expire.
Mr Trump said US law must tie long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs together, making any missile testing by Iran subject to “severe sanctions”.
He paired Friday’s concession with other, targeted sanctions on Iran for human rights abuses and ballistic missile development.
The Treasury Department’s action hits 14 Iranian officials and companies and businessmen from Iran, China and Malaysia, freezing any assets they have in the US and banning Americans from doing business with them.
The 2015 nuclear accord, reached after months of painstaking negotiations with the US, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia, lifted international sanctions in exchange for Iran limiting its nuclear program.
Mr Trump has repeatedly criticised the accord, while Iran has accused the US of failing to comply with it.
The next sanctions waivers are due in May.