U.S. refrains from renewing sanctions against Iran ahead of elections

President Rouhani is likely to benefit from the lack of sanctions in the upcoming elections

The decision comes two days ahead of Iran’s presidential elections and is thought to be in President Rouhani’s favor.

The United States State Department did not impose fresh sanctions against Iran’s nuclear programme on Wednesday, in a continuation of its 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.

The decision, which came two days before Iran heads to the polls to vote for a new president, is thought to be a boon for President Rouhani, who originally approved the nuclear deal with the US.

Although US officials promised to maintain pressure on Tehran over human rights abuses, it stopped short of imposing financial sanctions against high-ranking officials in exchange for compliance over strict arms controls.

The US’ top diplomat for the Middle East, Stuart Jones, is in favour of increased sanctions, saying on Wednesday that Iran continues to flout already existing sanctions.

“Iran continues to pursue missile-related technologies capable of delivering a nuclear weapon,”said Jones, according to AFP.

Despite the lack of new sanctions from the State Department, Jones said the Treasury Department would apply targeted sanctions on individuals and companies that were helping Iran in its banned ballistic missile programme.

During his election campaign, Donad Trump had warned he may rip up the nuclear deal altogether.