Europe takes center stage as Iran weighs response to Trump

ATTA KENARE

ATTA KENARE

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he will extend sanctions relief on Iran under a landmark nuclear deal for the last time, threatening a U.S. withdrawal from the pact if the U.S. Congress and his European allies cannot fix the alleged "disastrous flaws".

A move to reimpose sanctions would effectively torpedo the agreement reached between Iran and five major powers under which Tehran pledged to rein in its nuclear program in return for some easing of the economic restrictions imposed on it by the United States, the United Nations and the European Union.

In October, Trump decertified the nuclear deal under US law, saying the sanctions relief was disproportionate to Iran's nuclear concessions, and describing the arrangement as contrary to America's national security interests.

Trump is likely to pair his decision to renew the concessions to Tehran with new, targeted sanctions on Iranian businesses and people, the American officials said.

A decision on whether the U.S. should renew a waiver on nuclear-related sanctions against Iran was expected to be made during a White House meeting Thursday, a State Department spokesman said.

European allies fear that there are few realistic prospects of the Iranian regime agreeing to Mr Trump's most urgent demands-namely, to make the bargain permanent rather than time-limited and to link fresh concessions, for instance involving inspections of Iranian nuclear sites, to "triggers" that would otherwise automatically cause sanctions to "snap back".

The U.S. president must sign a waiver suspending the U.S. sanctions on Iran every 120 days.

"Trump's policy & today's announcement amount to desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement, maliciously violating its paras 26, 28 & 29", Zarif tweeted.

Given what is riding on the deals for the company and in light of recent anti-regime protests throughout Iran, THE WEEKLY STANDARD asked Boeing if the company simply defers to the U.S. government's assessment of the appropriateness of such leases and sales (especially to a country considered a state sponsor of terrorism) or does Boeing make an independent assessment of whether business with a particular customer might or might not be appropriate. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also noted that no one has put forward a plan that might be as effective in curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The landmark 2015 deal curbed Iran's nuclear ambitions in return for the relaxing of punishing sanctions

This would involve negotiations between the United States and its European allies rather than talks with Iran, the official said.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, welcomed backing for the accord, warning Tehran's commitment to the agreement was conditional on full USA compliance with the agreement.

Under the deal, the United States president must sign a waiver suspending the U.S. sanctions on Iran every 120 days. "We do not hide the other points of disagreement that exist", Le Drian said. "It is delivering on its main goal which means keeping the Iranian nuclear programme in check and under close surveillance", Mogherini said, adding that the International Atomic Energy Agency had shown in nine reports that Iran is meeting its commitments.

"In what we heard yesterday, I don't see any invitation for Iran to enter dialogue", he said.

"This is a last chance", Trump warned in a statement that outlined several tough new rules on Iran.

"While Britain may move to support the USA on this, Germany and France are likely to be strongly opposed", he said.

The Treasury Department also issued new sanctions against 14 people and entities involved with the country's ballistic missile programs and the government's recent crackdown on protesters.

The EU said it would hold internal consultations and was "committed to the continued full and effective implementation" of the deal.

The White House said Trump had "underscored that Iran must stop its destabilizing activity in the region".