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Iran says new US sanctions breach nuclear deal

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Iran lodged a complaint with the United Nations Security Council yesterday over new sanctions imposed upon the country by the United States.

Speaker of the Iranian parliament Ali Larijani was quoted by the Tasnim news agency as saying, “Iran’s JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] supervisory body assessed the new US sanctions [on Tehran] and decided that they contradict parts of the nuclear deal”.

The JCPOA was signed by Iran and six other nations including the US and UK. The agreement resulted in the lifting of the majority of sanctions placed on Iran, in return for Iran’s curbing of its nuclear program.

On Friday however the US imposed new sanctions on Iran targeting the country’s ballistic missile programme. The sanctions were a response to Iran’s successful launch of the “Simorgh” (Phoenix) satellite-carrying rocket into space.

The US State Department claimed the launch constituted “continued ballistic missile development” and called it a “provocative action” that, if confirmed, could be a “violation of UN Security Council resolutions”.

Missile tests are not prevented under the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 but they do violate United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which calls upon Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.” The U.S. said Thursday that such a rocket is inherently designed to be able to carry a nuclear warhead

The JCPOA has exposed splits within the Trump administration. Yesterday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pointed to differences with President Trump saying that “there are a lot of alternative means with which we use the agreement to advance our policies and the relationship with Iran, and that’s what the conversation generally is around with the President as well. The greatest pressure we can put to bear on Iran to change the behaviour is a collective pressure”

In contrast, US President Donald Trump suggested to the Wall Street Journal in a recent interview that his administration would conclude that Iran is violating the agreement when the next 90-day review period comes up, in mid-October.