Trump signed an executive order on Monday, continuing a national emergency with respect to Iran first announced by former US President Bill Clinton in 1995.
The American head of state argued that while all nuclear-related sanctions against Iran had been removed under the 2015 deal between Tehran and the six world powers – the US, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany—Washington was going to maintain its pressure on Iran in other key areas.
Trump’s decree claimed, "Actions and policies of the Government of Iran, including its development of ballistic missiles, support for international terrorism, and human rights abuses continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”
"For this reason, the national emergency declared on March 15, 1995, must continue in effect beyond March 15, 2018,” the presidential order continued.
Ever since entering the White House last year, Trump has sought to undermine the nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by making similar allegations.
The emergency is separate from another national emergency declared by Washington against Iran following the 1981 takeover of the US embassy in Tehran.
That emergency was renewed in November.
A state of emergency gives a US president extraordinary powers, including the ability to seize property, summon the National Guard and hire and fire military officers at will.
Iran has repeatedly rejected the Trump administration’s claims about its missile program, warning Washington against undermining its right to develop weapons for defensive purposes.
Tehran has also dismissed US accusations of human rights violations, condemning Washington’s dual policy of ignoring stark rights breaches and by its own allies while making fake allegations against Iran for political pressure.
Trump’s other claim that Iran sponsors terrorist groups has also been described by Tehran as another instance of US double standards, given that Washington and its allies have continued to arm repressive Middle East regimes and in particular Saudi Arabia, despite Riyadh’s deadly war against the people of Yemen and its support for militant groups wreaking havoc in the region.