US reviews Iran nuke programme, implements missile sanctions

The US has said it will continue to waive certain economic sanctions on Iran's nuclear programme while simultaneously implementing a new set of sanctions related to the country's ballistic missile programme and monitoring its human rights abuses.

"As we continue to closely scrutinise Iran's commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and develop a comprehensive Iran policy, we will continue to hold Iran accountable for its human rights abuses with new actions," Stuart Jones, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Ambassador, said yesterday.

It will implement a new set of sanctions related to Iran's missile programme continuing participation in the JCPOA.

"We urge our partners around the world to join us in calling out individuals and entities who violate international sanctions targeting Iran's human rights abuses," Jones said.

The State Department communicated to the Congress that the US continues to waive sanctions as required to continue implementing the US sanctions-lifting commitments in the JCPOA.

"This ongoing review does not diminish the US' resolve to continue countering Iran's destabilising activity in the region, whether it is supporting Syria's President Bashar al- Assad's regime, backing terrorist organisations like Hezbollah, or supporting violent militias that undermine governments in Iraq and Yemen," Jones said.

He said the US will never allow the regime in Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.

Jones statement coincided with the Department of Treasury's announcement of new sanctions related to Iran's ballistic missile programme.

"Last month the Treasury Department imposed the first human rights-related sanctions designations against Iranian individuals and entities since December 2014, and we will continue to pursue initiatives around the world that uphold our core values of promoting and protecting human rights," he said.

Jones said the Treasury Department is imposing new sanctions on Iranian defense officials, an Iranian entity, and a China-based network that supplied missile-applicable items to a key Iranian defense entity.

"The action reflects concern with Iran's continued development of ballistic missiles, which is inconsistent with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231. Iran continues to pursue missile-related technologies capable of delivering a nuclear weapon," Jones said.

LawrenceWard, a partner at international law firm Dorsey & Whitney, said that the announcement by the State Department to continue the US participation in the Iran nuclear deal is quite significant.

US President Donald Trump, on the campaign trail, suggested that if elected his Administration might take a very different path towards Iran and might do so very quickly upon taking office, he said.

"The announcement shows that the State Department, for the time being, will continue to abide by the JCPOA while still policing it aggressively just as had been the case under the Obama Administration," Ward said.

"The related new missile sanctions are similar to the ones that the Obama Administration had imposed and that the Trump Administration imposed earlier this year and so do not represent a drastically different view on Iran between the two Administrations. At least as of now, it appears that drastically changing US economic sanctions on Iran is taking a back-seat to domestic concerns," he said.