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Iran Says Extended U.S. Sanctions Violate Nuclear Deal, Vows Retaliation

Iranian officials declared on Friday that the U.S. Senate’s vote to extend the Iran Sanctions Act by another 10 years is a violation of the nuclear deal and threatened unspecified acts of retaliation.

“We are closely monitoring developments. If they implement the ISA, Iran will take action accordingly,” Iranian nuclear energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi said on state television, as quoted by Reuters.

“Iran has shown its commitment to its international agreements, but we are also prepared for any possible scenario. We are ready to firmly protect the nation’s rights under any circumstances,” added Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi.

Iranian lawmaker Akbar Ranjbarzadeh said the parliament would convene Sunday to discuss legislation that would “immediately halt implementation of the nuclear deal” if President Obama signs the extended Iran Sanctions Act into law, which he is expected to do. The Iranians are also said to be considering a ban on government purchases of U.S. products as a retaliatory action.

“We believe the Iran Sanctions Act extension is not necessary, but we also believe it won’t interfere with the Iran deal. I would expect the president to sign this piece of legislation,” said White House spokesman Eric Shultz on Friday.

The other signatories to the nuclear deal — Britain, Russia, France, China, and Germany — have also not expressed objections to extending the Iran Sanctions Act.

Obama, of course, is not the American figure at the center of this drama. President-elect Donald Trump was strongly critical of the nuclear deal during his campaign and is reportedly considering new sanctions, beyond what the ISA authorizes, to punish Tehran for its ballistic missile program, human rights abuses, and sponsorship of terrorism. Congressional Republicans have also indicated support for expanded sanctions.

The extension of the sanctions passed the Senate 99-0 on Thursday, adding another 10 years to measures that would have expired on December 31st.

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