Any New US Sanctions Would Violate Int'l Law

Any New US Sanctions Would Violate Int'l Law  Any New US Sanctions Would Violate Int'l Law

Any new US sanctions against Iran regarding the recent sporadic protests in several Iranian cities over economic hardships would constitute a violation of international law and Iran's national sovereignty, a lawmaker said.

A senior US official said on Wednesday that the United States aims to collect "actionable information" that could allow it to pursue sanctions against Iranian individuals and organizations involved in dealing with demonstrations that broke out late last month to criticize the government's economic performance.

"This is interference in our country's sovereignty affairs and against international law," Ezzatollah Yousefian told ICANA in a recent talk.

The move, which also involved a public expression of support for protestors by US President Donald Trump, is part of a divisive and subversive policy the hawkish Republican has pursued on Iran since taking office a year ago.

"The Americans and their allies are voicing support for the protestors to settle a political score with the Islamic Republic of Iran," Yousefian said.

The senior Trump administration official, who spoke with Reuters on condition of anonymity to explain US thinking about the protests, acknowledged that the demonstrations were unexpected and that Washington was actively collecting information about their handling by the Iranian government.

The idea was to obtain information and "to feed that into our sanctions designation machinery," the official said, noting that the Trump administration already had robust authority to target individuals or organizations for alleged human rights abuses, censorship or prevention of the free assembly of protesters.

"Human rights, censorship, free assembly—we have existing authorities that we can bring into action. That requires information. But there's a lot of information out there so we intend to start assembling that and see what we can do," the official claimed.

The rallies have heaped pressure on President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate who championed a deal struck with world powers in 2015 to curb Iran's nuclear program in return for the lifting of most international sanctions.

  In Conflict With Nuclear Deal

Yousefian invoked the terms of the deal that ban any fresh anti-Iran sanctions to reinforce his criticism of the prospective US sanctions move.

"It should not be forgotten that the imposition of sanctions of any kind would run counter to the JCPOA and would nullify this international agreement, so the Americans must take caution in their treatment of Iranians," the parliamentarian said, using the formal title of the accord, namely the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Many of the protestors are fuming over what they see as the failure so far of Rouhani's government to deliver on promises of more jobs and investment as a dividend of the nuclear accord.

It is unclear how the protests might affect Trump's thinking about the nuclear deal, which was negotiated by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.

Trump must decide by mid-January whether to continue waiving US sanctions on the Islamic Republic under the terms of the international accord.


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