European Union urges United States not to withdraw from Iran nuclear deal

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U.S. President Donald Trump was expected to decide on Thursday whether to extend sanctions relief to Iran under the 2015 nuclear deal as major European allies implored Washington to preserve the landmark arms control pact.

As part of an agreement with Congress, the president has to sign a waiver suspending the sanctions every 120 days.

He said the new deal should curb Iran's missile programme and include permanent restrictions on Iran's nuclear plants, removing expiration dates due to kick in after a decade.

Meanwhile, China and Russian Federation, the other two parties, have also repeatedly called on the United States to maintain its commitment to the Iranian Nuclear deal which is "a beneficial practice of solving a critical issue through political and diplomatic means".

In a tweet following Trump's harsh stance, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Friday that it was a "desperate attempt" to undermine an accord which Iran insisted was "not renegotiable".

U.S. allies including the United Kingdom and France have repeatedly defended the agreement and said Iran continues to comply with the accord and they, too, intend to do so.

Trump also is slapping targeted sanctions on some Iranian officials, but has opted against applying the kind of harsh sanctions that would blow up the nuclear accord, administration officials told reporters Friday afternoon on a conference call that, due to "technical difficulties", did not feature reporters' questions.

"Instead, I have outlined two possible paths forward: either fix the deal's disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw".

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

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Iran has complained that USA sanctions not connected to nuclear activity have effectively cancelled out any financial benefits it expected from the 2015 deal. Friday was the deadline to do so.

Trump says they are supporting terrorism.

The Trump administration asked Congress then to come up with and pass a companion agreement that addresses those issues.

"If Iran does not comply with any of these provisions, American nuclear sanctions would automatically resume", the president's statement said.

Iran, too, has been abundantly clear that it will not renegotiate the deal.

USA officials said the new sanctions were for human-rights abuses by the Iranian regime during its response to civil protests, and for weapons proliferation.

The decision to waive the sanctions was to be announced in a statement issued by the White House a day after Trump engaged in lengthy discussions with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and others about the deal.

The US president declared in October that the agreement was "one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into", and warned that within a few years Iran would be able to "sprint towards a rapid nuclear weapons breakout".

He wrote that rather than repeating exhausted rhetoric, the United States must bring itself into full compliance just like Iran.

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