Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

European powers propose new Iran sanctions to meet Trump ultimatum

Trump Is Likely to Exit Iran Nuclear Deal EU powers propose new Iran sanctions to keep Trump in nuclear deal
Freda Brock | 19 March, 2018, 13:33

Trump has vowed to walk away from the 2015 agreement in mid-May unless European countries join the U.S.in addressing what the president says are its key flaws. In exchange, the six powers agreed to lift sanctions that were imposed on the Islamic Republic over a decade due to its nuclear program.

As US President Donald Trump's deadline of May 12 for Iran deal revisions approaches, the European Union is striving to keep the agreement alive.

U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal would nearly certainly lead to greater regional instability and could trigger retaliation by Iran or its proxies in the Middle East. He added that without the full commitment of the USA and all parties, it is not possible to imagine the survival of the agreement.

Iran played down the potential impact on its landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers of the appointment of the hawkish Mike Pompeo as the new USA secretary of state, saying the change was an internal US matter.

"We stress once more that Russian Federation will not participate in talks between three European countries and the USA and we will not be committed to those countries' agreements and opposes sanctions", Dzhagaryan said in an interview with Tasnim news agency published on Sunday.

The Reuters report coincided with a meeting in Vienna on March 16 between Araghchi and European European representatives on the implementation of the nuclear deal.

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The new sanctions proposed are EU-wide sanctions that would target Iran for conducting missile tests, something President Trump has complained about. The changes the administration is seeking include the indefinite extension of limits on Iran's uranium enrichment and other nuclear activities and an intensified inspections regime.

The importance of the meeting grew especially after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was sacked for several reasons, including his position on Iran and JCPOA.

The proposal follows weeks of talks between the State Department and European powers as they try to mollify the Trump administration, which is split between those who want to tear up the agreement and those who wish to preserve it. But if Trump is forcing the deal's failure, they will not be a part of it. U.S. sanctions will resume unless Trump issues fresh "waivers" to suspend them on May 12. Referring to Iran as "the number one terrorist state", Trump said the Middle Eastern country supplies money and weapons to terrorist groups. The JCPOA is the formal name of the nuclear deal.

"There is a lot we agree on and where we disagree we are working to bridge our differences", he added.

"The missile dimension, the weaponisation effort, the nuclear component itself". While Tillerson had been seen as a moderating influence, Trump appears to be courting harder line hawks.

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