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Iran calls fresh sanctions by U.S. illegal, hostile

Iran calls fresh sanctions by U.S. illegal, hostile

Iran's Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that the Islamic republic will never succumb to pressure of the United States to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.

But Trump, who must meet regular deadlines to endorse the deal every 90 days and approve sanctions waivers every 120 and 180 days, has railed against the agreement.

"Either fix the deal's disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw", he said.

"We agree on this approach, we want to protect [the deal] against every possible decision that might undermine it", Germany's Sigmar Gabriel said alongside his French and British counterparts and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini after meeting Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

One official said Trump would be open to remaining in a modified deal if it were made permanent.

"This is a last chance".

Underscoring the difficulty now facing Europeans, a European diplomat, speaking under condition of anonymity, said: "It's going to be complicated to save the deal after this".

Tehran has responded to the latest U.S. sanctions over Iran's alleged human rights abuses and ballistic missile program.

The last time Trump issued a waiver was in September 2017. Republican Senator Bob Corker said "significant progress" had been made on bipartisan congressional legislation to "address the flaws in the agreement without violating USA commitments". They've been lobbying hard to keep the Trump administration in, arguing that the deal is working. Trump is also waiving other USA penalties covered by the agreement, including on Iran's oil and gas sectors, which were up for renewal next week.

Senior administration officials said the White House intends to negotiate with European allies a menu of "triggers" to reimpose multilateral sanctions if Iran oversteps those lines. Those points would have to be blessed by Congress and woven into a supplemental deal forged with the US' European allies. Work already has begun on this front.

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Trump said he wants Congress to fix "the deal's many flaws" such as existing sunset provisions.

The changes Trump has demanded include timely inspections of all sites requested by the International Atomic Energy Agency, reflecting a concern that Iran could be conducting nuclear research clandestinely at military sites.

"The Trump administration's policy announced today sets impossible standards that would ultimately isolate the United States rather than isolating the regime in Tehran", he said. Unilaterally reimposing the sanctions would put the United States in violation of an global agreement that was unanimously approved by the Security Council in 2015.

On Thursday, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, and foreign ministers of France, Germany, Britain, expressed their views to uphold the hardly-wrought deal.

Trump has been criticizing the nuclear deal since it was signed in 2015, which has been widely seen as providing "clear and tangible" benefits by limiting Iran's nuclear program.

Hailing the deal as a "considerable diplomatic accomplishment", British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said no one has so far come up with a better alternative.

Trump first called on the European nations to reopen the deal to modifications in October; there has been no sign that any party to the deal outside Trump is willing to do so.

"It is absolutely necessary to have this to prevent the development of nuclear weapons at a time when other parts of the world are discussing how to get them", Gabriel said. The sanctions, when they are in place, target third parties overseas that deal with Iran and have the effect - because of the reach of the US dollar - of severely inhibiting trade with Iran.

Trump refused to recertify the deal in October and has threatened to withdraw the United States if what he calls serious flaws in the accord can not be fixed by USA lawmakers and US allies.

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