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12 January 2018, 01:43 | Terri Saunders
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani at a cabinet meeting in Tehra
The nuclear deal reached between Iran and the six world powers of Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany in July 2015 resulted in the removal of global and western sanctions against Iran in return for the strict monitoring of the country's nuclear program.
US President Donald Trump is being urged by some top advisers to waive sanctions on Iran by a Friday deadline, but privately he is expressing reluctance to do so, a senior administration official said on Wednesday.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the deal is "a crucial agreement that makes the world safer".
While Mr Trump appeared poised to offer the deal something of a lifeline, the U.S. administration is also ready to impose a host of new sanctions against Iran and its proxies.
His decision is also further complicated by recent mass anti-government protests in Iran, made up mostly of youths complaining of economic hardship.
Gabriel met with his French, British and Iranian counterparts as the United States decision loomed on whether to back out of the landmark pact, which placed limits on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the relaxing of punishing sanctions. "With relief on sanctions from USA and EU, Iran is biding its time, reaping the benefits from the deal and accruing assets until it is free to resume its prolific activities".
While the president remains sharply critical of the deal - even moving to "decertify" it under US law in October - administration sources say he's now leaning toward once again approving the broad-based waivers. JCPOA is the official name for the deal.
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Some analysts are quick to note that the Iran deal as it is written does not preclude the United States or other world powers from exacting new sanctions against Iranian officials or entities - as long as the new sanctions are not tied to the nuclear dispute.
"We would argue differently", Ibsen adds, suggesting that the Iran deal is "a temporary stopgap measure to the threat posed by the regime's nuclear vision".
He accused Iran of "not living up to the spirit" of the nuclear agreement even though the International Atomic Energy Agency says Tehran is in fact in compliance.
Trump in October chose not to certify that Tehran is complying with the deal and warned he might ultimately terminate it.
Critics of the deal in Congress have also proposed amending legislation to ensure that U.S. sanctions would "snap back" automatically if Iran carried out certain actions.
U.S. officials told the Associated Press on Wednesday that Mr Trump was expected to extend the sanctions relief for another 120 days.
But he will also use the meeting to raise the issue of Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other dual-national consular cases with Tehran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
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