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Trump slaps Iran with more sanctions but keeps nuclear deal in place

President Donald Trump (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

President Donald Trump on Friday announced new restrictions on Iran — “a terrorist nation like few others” — but stopped short of scrapping the landmark nuclear deal that was the Obama administration’s signature foreign policy achievement.

Instead, he called on Congress to consider reimposing sanctions if Iran crosses certain lines, such as firing ballistic missiles or financing terrorism.

For now, Trump said he would not certify that Iran was in compliance with the 2015 deal that curbed its nuclear program, as he has twice before under a law requiring the president’s certification every 90 days. But in addition to asking Congress to enact potential new sanctions, Trump moved to impose unrelated sanctions by executive action, including blacklisting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s elite military unit that is heavily involved in much of the country’s business and trade.

“We cannot and will not make this certification,” Trump said in a speech from the White House ahead of the next deadline for certification on Sunday.

“The longer we ignore a threat, the more dangerous it becomes,” Trump said. He called the government in Tehran a “rogue” and “fanatical regime” that has “spread chaos” around the world, and added, “The regime remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”

Iran also violently represses its own citizens and fuels “vicious” civil wars in countries like Yemen and Syria, Trump said. The nuclear deal, however, was limited by allies’ agreement to addressing that threat, not other Iranian activities.

If the Obama administration and other major world powers had not entered into the deal that required Iran to shutter its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, Tehran’s economy would have collapsed, Trump said.

Now, he added, “We will deny the regime all paths to a nuclear weapon.”

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© 2017 Los Angeles Times

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