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Obama not to sign bills to ‘undermine’ Iran deal

The administration of outgoing President Barack Obama will avoid signing any bill in its final months that would “undermine” the Iran nuclear agreement, the White House says.

“We certainly are not going to, however, sign a piece of legislation that would undermine the ability of the international community to continue to successfully implement the international agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a daily briefing on Tuesday.

“Any actions that are taken, if there are any, are the kinds of actions that have been in the pipeline for quite some time and are entirely consistent with the United States upholding our end of an agreement that has prevented Iran from developing their nuclear weapon capability,” he added.

Iran has time and again rejected such allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology solely for peaceful purposes.

The remarks were made after the US Treasury Department issued a license which gave Airbus the green light to sell 106 airplanes to Tehran.

The transaction was approved after anti-Iran sanctions were lifted as part of a nuclear agreement reached last year between Iran and six world powers.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby confirmed the Airbus license, stressing that the move is part of US obligations under the Iran nuclear deal.

“Obviously, we’re going to stay committed to meeting our JCPOA commitments and obviously continue to believe that the Iran deal is the right thing for the country and for our interests,” Kirby said, referring to the July 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action deal struck between Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

This photo taken on January 6, 2016 shows State Department Spokesman John Kirby during the daily briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.

The recent efforts by the US administration to secure the Iran nuclear deal before Obama leaves office, have already met with opposition.

In a letter early on Tuesday, the Republican leadership in the House urged the outgoing president to cease efforts to facilitate companies doing business with Iran during the transition period.

“We urge you not to take any action that would weaken United States or multilateral sanctions or other restrictions against Iran in this post-election period,” the leaders wrote.

“President-elect Donald Trump deserves the opportunity to assess United States policy toward Iran without your administration imposing or implementing additional measures that could complicate the incoming administration’s ability to develop its policy,” they added.

Iranian officials have warned the US against walking away from the nuclear agreement, stressing that any US president is bound to honor the deal as it has been endorsed by a United Nations Security Council resolution, which makes it effectively an international law.

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