Iran demands that Obama allow US sanctions to expire

The rial's collapse has been closely tied to events in Washington, where the US Congress voted last week to renew sanctions against Iran that were not covered under the nuclear deal.

US President-elect Donald Trump has heavily criticised the nuclear accord as he campaigned for the White House over the past year - calling it the "stupidest deal of all time".

Congress approved the Iran Sanctions Act 20 years ago to block major foreign investment in Iran's energy sector. They also would be unlikely to tolerate the secondary sanctions that the US imposed on banks and energy companies for doing business there. "President Trump, if he really wants a deal that hits all the big points on [nuclear] inspections and perhaps a better sunset clause [endpoint], he's going to have to look at very severe pressure on Iran and, frankly, with our allies to make that happen".

Rouhani promised a "prompt response" from Iran if the USA sanctions are extended.

"Iran has proved that it sticks to its worldwide agreements, but it also has appropriate responses for all situations", said Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi.

Iran's top official has called on the United States to refuse from extending the sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

The renewal of the bill is likely not, however, a shock to Tehran.

Moreover, the American officials said the Iran sanctions extension will not encroach the nuclear agreement.

"I do not believe the nuclear deal is in jeopardy", Zarif told an audience in New Delhi.

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Iran has vowed to take "appropriate measures" against the ISA extension, saying it violated the JCPOA terms. Making it clear that Iran is not volunteering, Zarif said his country will be glad to help in whatever way it can.

He also said he spoke with Wang about increased cooperation on energy, transport, science and technology, national defence and counter-terrorism initiatives.

For now, the focus among Republicans is on leaving the accord intact but seeking new steps to punish Iran as a violator of human rights and a key supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Later, the Iranian President touched upon roots of the country's economic problems emphasizing that the budget bill for the next year is an attempt to overcome all structural difficulties.

"The Iranians know that if they are seen internationally as acting out of pique, it could turn into an own goal of epic proportions", said Ali Vaez, an analyst with the International Crisis Group.

He further said that the United States is not powerful enough to undermine the nuclear deal.

Trump's pledge to scrap the nuclear deal may mean his administration will reimpose sanctions or at least interpret remaining ones more stringently.

Salehi and Moniz are in Vienna to attend the International Conference on Nuclear Security: Commitments and Actions. It has also been suggested that Iran may have exceeded its limits of low-enriched uranium and that Iran's advanced centrifuges may still be active.

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