Published: Tue, May 29, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Work to salvage Iran deal minus U.S. starts

Work to salvage Iran deal minus U.S. starts

"Pompeo was like taking a cold shower", said a European diplomat.

Iran's supreme leader has threatened to pull his country out of the nuclear deal and resume enriching uranium if European countries do not promise to buy Iranian oil and to oppose all new U.S. sanctions against Tehran.

Washington has not only promised to impose "the strongest sanctions in history" on Tehran, but also threatened to punish companies that trade with it.

Iran had struck the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) with the U.S., the UK, Russia, China, France and Germany after years of negotiations.

The move has put the deal in "intensive care", the senior Iranian official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Trump sees various "flaws" in the deal, including that many of its restrictions lapse over time and that it does not address Iran's ballistic missile programme or its role in regional conflicts like the wars in Syria and Yemen.

The 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers lifted worldwide sanctions on Tehran.

That's not all. Pompeo said any treaty will also require Iran to change its regional and military policies - things like its ballistic missile testing in defiance of United Nations bans and its military meddling in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Afghanistan.

He added that Tehran would decide within the next few weeks whether to stay in the accord.

A senior European Union official said after the meeting that the bloc could not "give guarantees but we can create the necessary conditions for the Iranians to keep benefiting from the sanctions lifting under the JCPOA and to protect our interests and continue to develop legitimate business with Iran".

The foreign minister held meetings with Chinese and Russian officials in Beijing and Moscow and then traveled to Brussels for talks with the European parties to the JCPOA.

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Varadkar said the European Union and Dublin had "yet to see anything that remotely approaches" a way out of the current impasse. The disagreements within May's cabinet at this late stage of negotiations have been described by sources as "shocking".

The IAEA called on Iran to remain compliant with the JCPOA and even go beyond its legal obligations in order to boost global confidence in Tehran's commitments.

A day earlier, the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran is adhering to the accord.

He added that the possibility of referring back to the matter back to the United Nations "was not discussed during this meeting".

Unusually for a meeting of the joint commission, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano was invited to brief the participants on the IAEA's work in Iran.

Trump said Washington would not only reinstate the anti-Iran sanctions that were lifted as part of the deal, but would also "be instituting the highest level of economic" bans against the Islamic Republic.

He said: "If Europeans hesitate in responding to out demands, Iran is entitled to resume its nuclear activities".

The unnamed senior Iranian official rejected any attempt to link the JCPOA to other such issues. Some Western companies have already quit Iran or said they may have to leave because of the new United States sanctions.

"We have now a deal which is in the intensive care unit, it's dying", the official said.

In comments on May 23, Ayatollah Khamenei stressed that Europeans must protect Iranian oil sales from the United States pressure and continue buying Iranian crude, and must promise they would not seek new negotiations on Iran's missile program and regional activities.

The Iranian top official went on to stress that Iran will continue its policies in the region in line with its national interests.

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