West seeks new Iran curbs to meet Trump ultimatum

Carla Harmon
March 19, 2018

But U.S. President Donald Trump has long railed against the deal for reasons including its limited duration and the fact it does not cover Iran's ballistic missile program.

With the deadline President Trump's ultimatum to "fix" the Iran nuclear deal rapidly approaching, European Union parties to the deal Britain, France, and Germany are proposing new sanctions against Iran.

Trump has repeatedly slammed the 2015 nuclear deal, under which Iran agreed to freeze its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of crippling global sanctions.

Mohammad Javad Zarif's warning comes after the US President threatened to unilaterally pull out of the deal, formally named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), if it is not revised. He added that without the full commitment of the USA and all parties, it is not possible to imagine the survival of the agreement.

Corker said that while the Europeans wanted to keep the deal in place, they were having problems reaching a common position on the so-called sunset provisions, vehemently opposed by Trump, which will expire in eight to 13 years, freeing Iran from numerous pact's provisions.

"What the president said on January 12 is that we much reach a supplemental agreement with the European allies in three specific areas", he said.

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. Senior officials said that major oil and gas firms were hesitant to sign development deals with Iran because of the uncertainty of state department policies.

European officials stress that they share the USA concerns, and say they're making progress with the U.S., particularly on measures to address Iran's ballistic missiles.

Trump has had several public feuds with Corker, who he accused of engineering the deal under the Obama administration.

This week's firing of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the choice of Iran hard-liner Mike Pompeo to replace him have fueled speculation Washington will pull out. "Already, it hangs by a very thin thread and with Pompeo, it becomes more likely that Trump cancels the deal". The JCPOA is the formal name of the nuclear deal. The new sanctions are a bid to persuade Washington to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.

"It's just that it would have massive consequences for our partners, for our credibility, for North Korea, for validating Iran's argument that we can't be trusted", said one USA official.

"The missile dimension, the weaponisation effort, the nuclear component itself".

Corker also dismissed suggestions that Trump's withdrawal of the U.S. from the agreement would jeopardize fledgling talks with North Korea, who could see it is a failure of Washington to stand by negotiated agreements.

"The Iran deal will be another issue that's coming up in May, and right now it doesn't feel like it's going to be extended", Corker told the US network CBS. "I think we will have a more hard interlocutor, but someone who is more likely to deliver Trump", the diplomat said.

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