Europe steps up bid to salvage Iran accord ditched by Trump

16 May, 2018, 14:14 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Iran, Gaza, Trump's steel and aluminium tariffs on the menu at EU leaders' dinner in Sofia

Zarif said little to reporters Tuesday but suggested he wanted to discuss the deaths of dozens of Palestinians in Gaza as well as the nuclear deal, which U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from last week.

Trump's announcement last Tuesday that the United States was exiting the 2015 nuclear accord was met with widespread dismay in Europe where companies now face the threat of sanctions if they do business with Iran.

Earlier on Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran would remain committed to the deal "if the remaining five countries abide by the agreement".

In the aftermath of Washington's pullout, Europeans are seeking ways to protect the interests of their firms doing business in Iran and help them escape the brunt of the upcoming U.S. sanctions.

He followed through with a reimposition of sanctions on foreign companies that continue to do business with Iran, giving them either a 90-day or 180-day grace period to terminate their existing contracts, otherwise to face punitive measures by the USA government.

New Zealand businesses would suffer if the government gave in to threats from the United States over sanctions on dealings with Iran, Iran's ambassador to New Zealand says. "It depends on the conduct of other governments".

On May 8, President Donald Trump violated the terms of the JCPOA by withdrawing from the accord. It also points to a refusal to accept that Mr Trump's decision on Iran, fulfilling a campaign pledge to U.S. voters, should be allowed to upend a global agreement negotiated over years and which worldwide observers say is working. "They will never abandon the USA for us", said housewife Poormoslem at a protest against Trump on Friday.

Recall that a historic deal on Iran's nuclear program from 2015 provided for the cancellation of sanctions against Iran in exchange for limiting its opportunities for the enrichment and storage of nuclear materials.

Luxembourg's top diplomat touched upon the European Union's efforts to secure Iran's benefits under the JCPOA, demanding that the agreement remain in place as an worldwide achievement.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Moscow on May 14, 2018.

Many European diplomats doubt privately that the 2015 accord between Iran and six world powers can survive the reimposition of US sanctions ordered by Trump, but the European powers will say that they stick by the terms of the 2015 pact giving Iran sanctions relief in return for an end to its nuclear ambitions.

Minister for trade and export David Parker last week said it was still unclear to the nations who remained in the nuclear agreement what exports or trade were at risk when associating with Iran.

"Let's not fool ourselves that are that dozens of things we can do", said a second senior European diplomat.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Iran has so far complied with all of the conditions established under the nuclear deal.

During talks with the Chinese foreign minister, Zarif pointed to good relations between Tehran and Beijing after the JCPOA implementation started in 2016, saying, "We are confident that China will stand by Iran".

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Friday on Europe-1 radio that Europe should not accept that the U.S.is the "world's economic policeman". The Trump administration has many pro-Israel and anti-Iran officials.

French President Emmanuel Macron held phone talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, and the Kremlin said they had "confirmed Russia and France's commitment to make the deal work".

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