Secretary of State says 'hopeful' US, Europe can strike deal over Iran

Daniel Fowler
May 15, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump announces his intention to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement during a statement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, U.S. May 8, 2018.

President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal risks exposing European countries that have since invested in Iran to renewed USA sanctions after "wind-down" periods of three to six months expire. Its foreign policy hinges on the principle of obtaining such privileges and benefits. Over the past decade, US law enforcement has repeatedly used the USA dollar's status as the dominant currency for global financial transactions to prosecute foreign-based companies that execute dollar-denominated transactions that violate USA law. He [Trump] earlier did this with the Paris climate accord, the 1949 North Atlantic agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and UNESCO. "It's a UN Security Council Resolution and it belongs to the entire world", she said. Therefore, its unilateral exit from this agreement flies in the face of global law. I guess this shows how far we've fallen.

Among things the European Union could consider, he said, are reinforcing a 1996 "blocking statute" that could allow companies to ignore sanctions. On the contrary, the U.S. may have lost North Korea's trust by going back on the Iran deal just as it lost Palestinian support after Trump announced the shifting of the USA embassy to East Jerusalem.

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Several U.S. officials have acknowledged there is no "Plan B" if Washington can not win the support of allies - and Iran - to negotiate a new, expanded agreement that would end Iran's nuclear programme, restrain its ballistic missile programme, and curb its support for groups in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.

Trump said he wants to impose new conditions on Iran, to address its ballistic missile program, its support for terrorism, the expiration dates and inspection provisions in the agreement.

"He wanted to have an agreement, but he wanted to continue to undermine Iran and I think that's just a general pattern when it comes to Iran and the United States". While Israel has backed Trump's move, countries like Russian Federation and other European nations have decried the unilateral call from the United States to isolate Iran.

One is that Europeans will follow Washington's lead.

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"That's what we are going to do and I will be hard at it with the Europeans in the next several days", said the top U.S. diplomat.

It has been estimated that despite sanctions in place prior to the deal, at least $1bn in cash was smuggled into Iran through front companies in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates and Iraq.

"The 180 days Trump is talking about is a breather of sorts for himself, not for Iran or those who support JCPOA". However, the other signatory states disagree with him, which means the sanctions would only come from America. "Even Canada and Australia are against".

Both Le Maire and Germany's finance minister Olaf Scholz had spoken to their USA counterpart Steven Mnuchin, urging him to consider exemptions or delays for companies already present in the country. Without worldwide support, the sanctions will simply not be working.

"At this point, we have to replace the United States, which as an worldwide actor has lost vigour, and because of it, in the long term, influence", he said.

Under the deal reached in 2015 between Iran and six major powers, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in return for lifting most worldwide sanctions that crippled the country's economy.

"The goal is to prevent Iran from ever developing or acquiring a nuclear weapon and the detail beyond that is something we are going to have to flesh out", the official added.

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