President Donald Trump has delivered an ultimatum to America's European allies to fix the "terrible flaws" in the Iran nuclear deal, or he will pull the United States out in a few months' time.
- The US president has granted sanctions relief to Iran for a few months
- His declaration puts pressure on the European signatories to the nuclear pact
- The Iranian Foreign Minister responded on Twitter that the deal was not renegotiable
Mr Trump made the threat as he extended waivers of key economic sanctions on Iran, keeping the accord alive at least for now.
"This is a last chance," Mr Trump warned in a statement that outlined several tough new rules on Iran.
"In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal."
Mr Trump's declaration puts great pressure on Britain, France and Germany — the European signatories to the nuclear pact with Iran.
Mr Trump wants them to help the US devise a new agreement designed to prevent Iran from escalating nuclear activity again next decade, as permitted under the 2015 arrangement reached by President Barack Obama.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded on Twitter that the deal was not renegotiable and that Mr Trump's stance "amounts to desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement".
What is in the waiver?
The sanctions Mr Trump had to waive dealt with Iran's central bank.
These penalties largely cut Iran out of the international financial system, until they were suspended by former US president Barack Obama under the nuclear deal.
Mr Trump is also waiving other US penalties covered by the agreement, including on Iran's oil and gas sectors, which were up for renewal next week.
Mr Trump will next have to deal with these decisions in the (northern) spring.
Sanctions for human rights abuses, missile development
But Mr Trump paired this week's concession with other, targeted sanctions on Iran for human rights abuses and ballistic missile development.
The Treasury Department's action hits 14 Iranian officials and companies and businessmen from Iran, China and Malaysia, freezing any assets they have in the US and banning Americans from doing business with them.
In his lengthy statement, Mr Trump said the US would work with European partners to remove the nuclear deal's so-called "sunset clauses," which allow Iran to gradually resume advanced atomic activity.
He said he wanted the US legislation governing Washington's participation in the deal to specifically link Iran's ballistic missile programs to sanctions relief.
"Today, I am waiving the application of certain nuclear sanctions, but only in order to secure our European allies' agreement to fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal," Mr Trump said.
"If at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately. No-one should doubt my word."
The decision had been expected since earlier this week.
Officials, congressional aides and outside administration advisers said had the President would likely extend the sanctions waivers, citing progress in the US legislation.
One aspect Mr Trump has particularly bristled at is having to give Iran a "thumbs up" every few months by acknowledging that it is meeting its nuclear requirements.
How Trump wants to fix the deal
The President laid out several conditions for a fix to the deal that would keep the United States in.
Iran must allow "immediate inspections at all sites requested by international inspectors," he said, and that provisions preventing Iran from possessing a nuclear weapon must not expire.
Mr Trump said US law must tie long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs together, making any missile testing by Iran subject to "severe sanctions".
Mr Trump wants the US Congress to modify a law that reviews participation in the nuclear deal to include "trigger points" that if violated, would lead to the US reimposing its sanctions, the official said.
This would not entail negotiations with Iran, the official said, but rather would be the result of talks between the US and its European allies.
Work already has begun on this front, the official said.