Brody: Trump Wants Out of Iran Deal, but Timing Isn't Right

On June 16, Ali Velayati, a top adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, noted that the U.S. Senate's decision to impose new sanctions was a clear violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action deal.

But the recertification came with a stern warning.

In its report, the Trump administration told the Congress that Iran remains one of the most unsafe threats to U.S. interests and to regional stability. The sanctions also targeted what the USA says is a transnational criminal group based in Iran and three people associated with it, which the Treasury Department says stole software from the United States and other Western countries.

The White House stresses that it will not go soft on Iran, pointing to new non-nuclear sanctions and stricter implementation of the deal.

"Never, ever, ever, in my life have I seen any transaction so incompetently negotiated as our deal with Iran", Trump said September 9, 2015, during a Tea Party rally.

In the end, Trump agreed reluctantly to recertify the agreement after being advised repeatedly by his top national security aides to do so, another senior USA official said.

The last certification of Iranian compliance, in April, was also followed by new sanctions on Iranian individuals and companies the administration said played a role in ballistic missile tests that are not covered by the nuclear agreement.

"We certainly hope that if we don't agree with each other about the situation in Yemen or about the situation in Syria we can still work with each other in order to bring those situations to an end", said Zarif, who was in NY for a high-level United Nations meeting on sustainable development.

Tillerson has said his goal is a new deal, or at least significant provisions to strengthen the existing one.

The president's team also reportedly emphasized the need to coordinate any us action across the range of actors involved in the Iran deal, which is also signed by the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, and Germany.

Pressed on whether the administration views Iran as a legitimate interlocutor or if they want to be dealing with a different regime, the first official replied, "What we're focused on right now is trying to see a change in the behavior of the Iranian regime". Iran is subject to worldwide inspections under the deal.

Those sanctioned had backed Iran's military or Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps by developing drones and military equipment, producing and maintaining boats, and procuring electronic components, it said. And for now, those other countries have urged Trump not to weaken or abandon the deal.

Responding to a question about whether Iran has received any signals from the Trump administration, positive or negative, Zarif said, "We receive contradictory signals".

Under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear programme in exchange for lifting of sanctions that had paralyzed its economy.

At the same time, the US retains sanctions against Iran on the missile program, human rights and on suspicion that Tehran sponsors terrorism.

  • Anthony Vega