China protests 'unhelpful' U.S. sanctions on Iran

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He was sanctioned for his involvement in Iran's solid-fuel ballistic missile programme.

The administration of US President Donald Trump chose to stick by a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers yesterday and continue waiving sanctions related to its atomic activities.

Along with the department's letter to Congress announcing those waivers, the administration is announcing new sanctions on Iranian defense officials, an Iranian company and a Chinese-based network that allegedly supplied Iran with "missile-applicable" items.

The State Department also released a new report criticizing Iran for human rights abuses.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers a a statement on Iran last month at the State Department.

Under the 2015 deal, the USA and other world powers eased sanctions after the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran had taken a series of steps to pull its nuclear program back from the brink of weapons capability.

Stuart Jones, the acting assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs, told The Associated Press the still forming a "comprehensive Iran policy" but will continue implementing the Iran nuclear deal in the meantime.

"It's a clear message to foreign banks and companies looking to do business with Iran: You will be taking significant risks if you deal with a regime engaged in continued malign conduct and still covered by a web of expanding non-nuclear sanctions", he said. During his tour of the Middle East, Trump will visit Saudi Arabia and Israel, two countries who are also very concerned about Iranian expansionism and terrorism.

The US believes the Chinese business tied to Tehran's ballistic missile program is in breach of global law because, the US said, it could carry nuclear warheads in the future.

Although oil sales have rebounded since the deal came into effect in January 2016, Iran's continued exclusion from the worldwide banking system has prevented it from signing much needed trade and investment deals with Europe and Asia.

The implications of the Trump administration's decision to extend sanctions relief, will however, reverberate beyond the realm of worldwide relations.

Trump had until Thursday to extend a sanctions waiver on Iran.

The State Department said Iran would continue to enjoy relief from decades-old economic measures punishing Tehran for its nuclear program. She went on to warn against passage of pending sanctions legislation, S. 722, co-authored by Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), ranking member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and committee member Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

Europe's leaders are quickly moving forward on economic normalisation with Iran, and scuttling the nuclear deal would have wide-ranging diplomatic repercussions with major allies, she said. "Why risk the JCPOA for a bill that does nothing that is going to arguably undermine the JCPOA?"

Advocates said that deal proponents should not be complacent just because the Trump administration issued these waivers.