Europe Steps Up Efforts to Salvage Iran Accord Ditched by Trump

Daniel Fowler
May 17, 2018

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to German, French and British counterparts in recent days to discuss cooperation over Iran, a State Department spokeswoman said on Monday a week after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.

European diplomats, speaking on background because they did not have authorization to talk otherwise, said on Tuesday that they felt no great urgency, which was just as well, given the difficulty of the task.

Indeed, the major reasons for the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA on the Iranian nuclear program are not linked to the agreement itself, but to Washington's approach to Tehran's policy in the Middle East, Ryabkov said.

"I want to stress we are under no illusion about the stuff Iran gets up to in the region, in the Middle East".

Perhaps Trump will put Pompeo front and center to mop up the pieces of the Iran deal.

There was no press conference following the Lavrov-Zarif talks in Moscow. Russia, which sells arms to Iran and is involved in oil and gas facility and nuclear power plant construction in Iran, has already announced that the USA withdrawal from the nuclear deal will actually help Russia. Bolton said on ABC's "This Week".

USA sanctions on Iran will have a six-month period during which buyers should "wind down" oil purchases, meaning any loss of supply will not be immediately felt in the market.

Boris Johnson has called on Iran to stick to its nuclear agreement with the UK, France and Germany in a bid to protect companies fearful of being penalised for doing business there.

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French President Emmanuel Macron has said he wants to secure a wider deal after the US withdrawal with four pillars: limiting Iran's nuclear program in the short and the long term, restraining its ballistic missile program and curbing what the West views as its destabilising behaviour in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon.

He added that progress had been made towards a political agreement on measures that should be taken to keep the nuclear deal in place following Washington's withdrawal.

European diplomats acknowledged that the EU support, however honest, risked looking hollow after Trump last week reimposed an array of wide sanctions on the Islamic Republic that will hit European companies investing in Iran.

Russian Federation will comply with its liabilities within framework of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding the Iranian nuclear program to reconfigure the Fordow enrichment facility. "The EU would have to green light retaliation against USA companies for any sanctions imposed against European ones". In the past, the European Union has also lodged complaints at the World Trade Organisation.

"It is going to be very hard for us to preserve the economic benefits of the Iran deal", one senior European diplomat said.

The European Commission has been examining measures to counter the introduction of any USA sanctions that could harm European businesses.

He stated: "We have now to simply accept, we now have to be real looking in regards to the electrified rail, the reside wire of American extra-territoriality, and the way that may function a deterrent to companies". So, the rationale for getting out of the deal is that it was contrary to American national security interests when we entered into it, and it hadn't gotten any better with age.

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