Iran calls new United States sanctions bluff

However, the White House stopped short of failing to renew the waivers on more widespread sanctions, which are not permanent and were due to expire this week.

Under the terms of the 2015 deal, the previous US administration of President Barack Obama agreed to waive sanctions on Iran's nuclear program in return for strict controls to prevent it from developing atomic weapons.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif hit back at Tillerson, saying "worn-out US accusations" could not "mask its admission of Iran's compliance" with the agreement. As president, he has altered his position, insisting he is still studying the accord and hasn't made a final decision. Global sanctions will not "snap back", as President Obama said they would if Iran cheated.

Under the terms of the 2015 deal, the previous U.S. administration of president Barack Obama agreed to waive sanctions on Iran's nuclear program in return for strict controls to prevent its developing a bomb.

Meanwhile, Tehran underlined that it will not stop its missile program despite a new round of sanctions. Since taking office, Trump's administration has sanctioned hundreds in Iran and in Syria — an Iranian ally — as part of a campaign to increase pressure on Iran even as it reviews the nuclear deal.

Under the deal, the United States and five other world powers agreed to lift sanctions in exchange for Iran rolling back its nuclear program.

"Last month the Treasury Department imposed the first human rights-related sanctions designations against Iranian individuals and entities since December 2014, and we will continue to pursue initiatives around the world that uphold our core values of promoting and protecting human rights", he said.

"The inter-agency actions today demonstrate that the Trump administration is developing a comprehensive strategy to counter the threat from Iran", the official said.

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 programme.

This has been a major issue in the Iranian election, with hardliner Raisi accusing Rouhani of making too many concessions without gaining any economic benefits.

Such exports could be at risk, should the nuclear agreement - officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - be weakened or abandoned under the next president.

"I will continue to monitor this situation closely", Trump added.

In a retaliation move, Iran added nine Americans and companies to its own list of 15 US companies for human rights violations and cooperation with Israel.

Iran's presidential election is Friday, pitting a conservative hardliner against incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate whose government negotiated the nuclear agreement with the Obama administration and others.

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