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U.S. Extends Iran Nuclear Sanctions Relief, Adds Other Sanctions


Iranian President Hassan Rohani

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is extending sanctions relief for Iran that was granted under the 2015 nuclear agreement, while imposing new economic penalties over Iranian ballistic-missile activity.

The State Department says it is telling Congress it will continue to waive sanctions on Iran as part of the 2015 nuclear deal. The decision comes just before the Obama administration's last six-month waiver expires.

Trump was elected after warning during his presidential campaign that he might cancel the agreement.

While the waiver on the nuclear-related sanctions was renewed, the U.S. Treasury imposed new measures to punish two Iranian defense officials, an Iranian company and members of a China-based network for supporting Iran's ballistic-missile program.

The Iranian officials sanctioned on May 17 are Morteza Farasatpour and Rahim Ahmadi.

Farasatpour coordinated the sale and delivery of explosives and other materiel to a Syrian government agency, the Treasury Department said.

Ahmadi is the director of Iran's Shahid Bakeri Industries Group, which is responsible for Iran's solid-fuel ballistic-missile program, the Treasury statement said.

The sanctions "for proliferation activities in support of a key designated Iranian defense entity" also apply to Chinese national Ruan Runling and three China-based companies associated with Ruan -- Shanghai North Begins International, Shangai Gang Quan Trade Co., and Shanghai North Transway International Trading Co., the statement said.

The decision not to renew sanctions comes just two days before Iran is due to hold a presidential election and may prove a boost for President Hassan Rohani, who signed the deal and is seeking reelection.

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 it from developing atomic weapons.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters
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