Iran's President Says Trump 'Failed To Undermine' Nuclear Deal

Steven Mnuchin testifying during his Senate Finance committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Jan. 19 2017

Steven Mnuchin testifying during his Senate Finance committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Jan. 19 2017

On Friday, Trump announced that he has chose to extend the nuclear deal one last time, opting not to reimpose economic sanctions on Iran. USA officials and others familiar with the administration's deliberations told the Associated Press that Mr. Trump is likely to back the accord for now but that he may pair his decision with new, targeted sanctions on Iranian businesses and people.

Trump, officials said, would not waive the sanctions again in May unless the Europeans agreed to a "follow-on" deal that eliminates the "sunset clauses" in the current agreement, under which Iran is allowed to resume activities like enriching uranium.

"Despite my strong inclination, I have not yet withdrawn the United States from the Iran nuclear deal", he said in a statement.

In a statement Saturday, Iran's Foreign Ministry said the Trump administration's "hostile and illegal act" in including Larijani on its sanctions list "has gone way beyond all internationally accepted behavior red lines".

He paired Friday's concession with other, targeted sanctions on Iran for human rights abuses and ballistic missile development.

Meanwhile, Russia on Saturday said Washington would be making a grave mistake by pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.

But he coupled that announcement with new sanctions on 14 Iranian individuals and entities - among them Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani, head of Iran's judiciary.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamed Javad Zarif accused Trump of "maliciously violating" the nuclear deal. "Rather than repeating exhausted rhetoric, USA must bring itself into full compliance - just like Iran".

In particular, Trump's desired accord would not begin to expire after 10 years as parts of the existing deal do.

The White House faced a series of deadlines related to the deal on Friday, most importantly, whether to renew or terminate a waiver for sanctions on Iran's central bank and energy sector.

The Treasury Department placed sanctions on the head of the Iranian judiciary and a notorious prison.

"Instead I have outlined two possible paths forward: either fix the deal's disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw", he added.

The legislation is required to include certain "triggers" which will automatically lead to a reimposition of the sanctions if Iran fails to apply.

Trump on January 12 said the United States would pull out of the deal unless the European signatories fixed what he called "terrible flaws" in the agreement.

Russian Federation - one of the parties to the Iran pact alongside the United States, China, France, Britain, Germany and the European Union - called Trump's comments "extremely negative".

A decision to withhold a waiver would have effectively ended the deal between Iran and the other worldwide signatories.