China Blasts US 'Blind Use of Unilateral Sanctions' Versus Iran

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

Despite Donald Trump's past criticism of the nuclear deal, his administration kept hold of the agreement on Wednesday, but renewed a waiver of nuclear-related sanctions.

Washington D.C. [USA], May 18: The Trump administration has signaled that it would continue the Iran nuclear deal made under the Barack Obama administration for the meantime as the U.S.is still forming a new comprehensive Iran policy.

China has close economic and diplomatic ties with Tehran, but was also instrumental in pushing through a landmark 2015 deal to curb Iran's nuclear program. "The United States will remain vigilant when it comes to Iran".

Since the nuclear deal was reached in July 2015, Iranian oil production has climbed from 2.8 million b/d to 3.81 million b/d in April, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Some of the waivers would expire if Trump refuses to extend them this week.

The deal is also controversial inside the Trump administration, with some officials pushing for the United States to walk away from the agreement and others urging more restraint.

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"There is no material difference between what Treasury has done today ... and missile designations that took place multiple times under the Obama administration", said Richard Nephew, a former member of the US-Iran nuclear-negotiating team.

The Trump administration has called the nuclear agreement with Iran "the worst deal ever negotiated", and senior administration officials have repeatedly criticized Iran's behavior for its support for Bashar Assad in Syria, its ballistic missile activities and its support for militant groups in the region. It also has clinched bigger deals with trans-Atlantic rivals Airbus and Boeing.

Along with the department's letter to Congress announcing those waivers, the administration is announcing new sanctions on Iranian defense officials, an Iranian company and a Chinese-based network that allegedly supplied Iran with "missile-applicable" items. Simultaneously, the State Department released a congressionally mandated semi-annual report on human rights abuses.

Iranian officials say the country has carried out the missile tests as part of its program to boost defense capabilities, rejecting claims that the tests were in violation of Resolution 2231. "This includes the USA citizens wrongfully detained or missing in Iran, and we call on Iran to immediately return them to their families".

The decision came just before a Friday presidential election in Iran, in which moderate President Hassan Rouhani is fighting for a second term against hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi, who has called for a much tougher stance against the West.

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