US reviews Iran nuke programme, implements missile sanctions

Ghasemi said Iran would retaliate by adding nine USA individuals and companies to its own sanctions list, accusing them of "clear violations of human rights" in relation to their support for Israel or "terrorist groups" in the Middle East.

Although Iran is a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention and has promised to dismantle its chemical weapons arsenal, the US State Department in 2013 said that it had no accurate intelligence that proved that Iran had complied with the convention.

"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 United States will never allow the regime in Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.

But Washington's top diplomat for the Middle East, Stuart Jones, said the department had told Congress that "the United States continues to waive sanctions" that were lifted under the Iran deal.

The administration of US President Donald Trump chose to stick by the nuclear deal with Iran on Wednesday, renewing a waiver of nuclear-related sanctions despite his past criticism of the agreement.

But, while the waiver on the nuclear-related sanctions was renewed, the US Treasury imposed new measures to punish Iranian defense officials and a Chinese business tied to Tehran's missile program.

The dual moves - ensuring old sanctions on Iran don't return while imposing new ones - appeared aimed at undercutting the impression that Trump's stance on Iran has softened.

Iran Air finalized a deal last month with ATR for 20 twin-propeller aircraft, with an option to buy 20 more.

"Iran condemns the USA administration's ill will in its effort to reduce the positive results of the country's implementation of JCPOA (nuclear deal) commitments by adding individuals to the list of unilateral and illegal extraterritorial sanctions", foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said on his Telegram channel.

The group's Council of Advisors includes Kerry, one of the chief negotiators of the Iran deal; Antony Blinken, the former deputy secretary of state; Nick Burns, the former undersecretary of state for political affairs; Puneet Talwar, the former assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, and Jen Psaki, former White House communications director.

"Iran will continue its missile program forcefully...as planned", he said.

An Iranian missile test a year ago.

Iran denies ever seeking nuclear weapons and Ghasemi said its missile programme is part of its "absolute and legal right to build up the country's defensive capabilities". The planes were officially given to Iran Air in a ceremony Tuesday in Toulouse, where ATR is based.

Under the 2015 deal, the US and other world powers eased sanctions after the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran had taken a series of steps to pull its nuclear program back from the brink of weapons capability. It also has clinched bigger deals with trans-Atlantic rivals Airbus and Boeing.

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