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Decisive response awaits ‘hostile’ US sanctions: Iran official



A senior Iranian official has denounced the US House of Representatives’ approval of a draft law for fresh sanctions against the Islamic Republic, vowing a “decisive response” to the “hostile” move.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi made the remarks on the sidelines of a summit on preventing cybercrimes in Tehran on Wednesday.

“The measure being taken by the US Congress and the new law being passed against Iran, Russia and North Korea is a blatant hostile act against the Islamic Republic of Iran, which will be met with a decisive response,” he said.

The remarks came a day after the House voted 419-3 for a bill that would levy new sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea.

The bill must pass the US Senate before it can be sent to the White House for US President Donald Trump to sign into law or veto.

It targets North Korea and Iran over their ballistic missile programs as well as Russia concerning its alleged meddling in the 2016 US election and the reintegration of the Black Sea Crimean Peninsula.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the sanctions bill “tightens the screws on our most dangerous adversaries in order to keep Americans safe.”

Araqchi further said Iran has over the past years faced similar “hostile moves” by the US Congress and government, and that this “is not restricted to the current or former governments” in Washington.

The new bill is in fact a “conclusion of previous US sanctions in non-nuclear fields,” he said, adding, however, that it “could affect the successful implementation” of the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

As a result, Araqchi said, the draft sanctions law “is incompatible with different clauses of the JCPOA, under which the US is committed to implementing the JCPOA with good will and in a constructive atmosphere.”

The draft law comes while the Trump administration recently certified to the Congress that Iran is complying with the nuclear accord for a second time since taking office in January.

Touching the topic, Araqchi said that Washington had no choice other than that the certification as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has seven times confirmed Iran’s compliance with the deal.

Araqchi stressed that Iran “will remain patient and make a practical decision in proportionate to the US measures.”

The JCPOA was inked between Iran and the P5+1 countries — namely the US, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany — in July 2015 and took effect in January 2016.

Under the deal, which was later endorsed by a UN Security Council resolution, limits were put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the removal of all nuclear-related bans imposed on the Islamic Republic, among other things.

The Trump administration, which took over in January 2017, one year after the JCPOA came into force, has however slapped sanctions on Iran in violation of the nuclear deal.

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