WASHINGTON, Jan 12 (KUNA) -- President Donald Trump Friday said he was open to working with Congress on bipartisan legislation regarding Iran, but any bill he signs must include "four critical components," indicating this was the "last chance" for the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran to be fixed.
New US legislation on Iran "must demand that Iran allow immediate inspections at all sites requested by international inspectors," Trump said in a statement released by the White House. "Second, it must ensure that Iran never even comes close to possessing a nuclear weapon.
"Third, unlike the nuclear deal, these provisions must have no expiration date," he said. "My policy is to deny Iran all paths to a nuclear weapon -- not just for 10 years, but forever. If Iran does not comply with any of these provisions, American nuclear sanctions would automatically resume.
"Fourth, the legislation must explicitly state in United States law, for the first time, that long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs are inseparable, and that Iran's development and testing of missiles should be subject to severe sanctions," the President said.
In announcing that he was again waiving the application of certain nuclear sanctions, Trump said this action was being taken "only in order to secure our European allies' agreement to fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal. This is a last chance.
"In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal, and if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately," he said.
"No one should doubt my word," he said. "I said I would not certify the nuclear deal, and I did not. I will also follow through on this pledge. I hereby call on key European countries to join with the United States in fixing significant flaws in the deal, countering Iranian aggression and supporting the Iranian people.
"If other nations fail to act during this time, I will terminate our deal with Iran," Trump said. "Those who, for whatever reason, choose not to work with us will be siding with the Iranian regime's nuclear ambitions, and against the people of Iran and the peaceful nations of the world."
The US is cutting off the Iranian regime's money flows to terrorists, he said.
"We have sanctioned nearly 100 individuals and entities involved with the Iranian regime's ballistic missile program and its other illicit activities," he said. "Today, I am adding 14 more to the sanctions list.
"We are also supporting the brave Iranian citizens who are demanding change from a corrupt regime that wastes the Iranian people's money on weapons systems at home and terrorism abroad," Trump said. "And crucially, we are calling on all nations to lend similar support to the Iranian people, who are suffering under a regime that is stifling basic freedoms and denying its citizens the opportunity to build better lives for their families -- an opportunity that is every human being's God-given right.
"In 2015, the Obama administration foolishly traded away strong multilateral sanctions to get its weak nuclear deal," the President said. "By contrast, my administration has engaged with key European allies in seeking to secure a new supplemental agreement that would impose new multilateral sanctions if Iran develops or tests long-range missiles, thwarts inspections or makes progress toward a nuclear weapon -- requirements that should have been in the nuclear deal in the first place. And, like the bill I expect from Congress, these provisions of a supplemental agreement must never expire.
"I also call on all our allies to take stronger steps with us to confront Iran's other malign activities," he said. "Among other actions, our allies should cut off funding to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, its militant proxies and anyone else who contributes to Iran's support for terrorism. They should designate Hezbollah, in its entirety, as a terrorist organization.
"They should join us in constraining Iran's missile development and stopping its proliferation of missiles, especially to Yemen," he said. "They should join us in countering Iran's cyber threats. They should help us deter Iran's aggression against international shipping. They should pressure the Iranian regime to stop violating its citizens' rights. And they should not do business with groups that enrich Iran's dictatorship or fund the Revolutionary Guard and its terrorist proxies." (pickup previous)