Germany urges United States to separate Iran nuclear deal from other issues

Pauline Gross
January 12, 2018

Europe and Iran put on a united front over the 2015 accord on freezing the country's nuclear programme on Thursday, warning the USA against a decision to supper the deal.

Reuters quoted a European diplomatic source as saying "the aim is to send a message to Washington that Iran is complying, and that it is better to have the nuclear agreement than to isolate Tehran".

The Trump administration's deadline on whether to decertify the pact or reimpose oil sanctions on Iran is mid-January, and the State Department said on Tuesday the administration was expected to decide on Friday.

European governments refrained from explicitly condemning a deadly clampdown on protests in Iran and instead offered a staunch defense of the country's nuclear accord, adding to signs of a widening rift with the U.S.

Her comments came after Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran Andrew Peek - a key Trump administration appointee at Foggy Bottom - told Voice of America that USA officials are "examining actions we can take against those individuals, like sanctions and other means".

Some analysts have argued that a full Trump administration withdrawal from the deal could be disastrous for USA relations with European allies, who've sought more eagerly than Washington to invest in Iran over the past two years.

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Senior officials told AFP they "expect" Trump to extend waivers on sanctions against Iran on Friday to keep the United States in line with the 2015 deal, which the president has repeatedly lambasted. "It is delivering on its goal, which is keeping the Iranian nuclear program in check". It has said it will stick to the accord as long as the other signatories respect it, but will "shred" the deal if Washington pulls out.

Under the accord, Iran slowed its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of worldwide economic sanctions.

Mr Johnson described the deal, which is known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as a "considerable diplomatic accomplishment". "The Iran nuclear deal makes the world safer".

The White House on Wednesday demanded that Iran release demonstrators rounded up in countrywide protests, raising pressure on Tehran as US President Donald Trump weighs the future of a key nuclear deal. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker has been working on amending a U.S. law to include "trigger points" that if crossed by Iran would automatically bring back United States sanctions. In particular there is sympathy with the U.S. push to end the deal's "sunset clauses", which phase out restrictions on Iranian activities in the next decade.

"But most of the general view around him, with his team, with all of his foreign policy leaders, his cabinet members, is I think hoping that he'll continue to waive sanctions and to try to support what his team has been working with us on for eight or nine months", Corker said.

Other reports by GizPress

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