Iran, EU meet to try to save nuclear deal

Faith Castro
May 16, 2018

The trip is carried out in line with the President Hassan Rouhani's directive for intensive talks on the possibility of preserving the JCPOA while the Iranian nation's interests are guaranteed.

Boris Johnson is meeting French and German counterparts to find a way to save the Iran nuclear deal after Donald Trump pulled USA support for the accord. And there is reason to worry.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif held talks in Brussels in Tuesday with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini as part of his ongoing tour of signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal. Undoubtedly, on the eve of the possible isolation of Iran and the resumption of sanctions...

Its monitors, who regularly inspect Iranian nuclear facilities, have verified that Iran is complying with the terms of the deal. That's roughly 100 times larger than U.S. exports to Iran the same year.

This, along with its diplomatic moves to orchestrate an end to the Syrian conflict, has put Moscow at loggerheads with the U.S. and Europe, which have intervened against the regime.

Conversely, while Europe may strongly disagree with Washington's unilateral exit, it too, can work to stem any trans-Atlantic fissure.

Other European companies with big Iran deals and significant operations in America are giving little away about their plans. As expected, Israel has enthusiastically welcomed Trump's decision. While both their statements cited the importance of UNSCR 2231-which unanimously passed in 2015, codifying the JCPOA-Mogherini's statement signaled a European interest in deterring Washington from enforcing sanctions.

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White House national security adviser John Bolton has said European companies doing business with Iran could be subject to sanctions.

"So far we have had very positive signals from signatories of the deal. but what is important is for Europeans to find a way to protect their investors from United States penalties (when they invest in Iran)", a senior Iranian diplomat said. Put differently, the European Union sees the JCPOA as a multinational endeavor to use peaceful means of conflict resolution to [attempt] to solve a major global challenge.

While it is still unclear how US sanctions will affect output from the third-largest OPEC producer, the move has helped oil prices rise.

The question is whether the remaining signatories - the so-called E-3, Russian Federation and China - can deliver the benefits of the accord, including access to global oil markets, trade and investment, that enticed the Iranians to join the agreement.

Concern - and anger - is growing among European governments at the uncertainty facing companies with investments in Iran.

Mnuchin, speaking in Israel on Monday, said the USA aimed to reimpose sanctions “until we have a real comprehensive agreement that limits nuclear weapons, ” and ensures that Iran never acquires them.

Recent examples of the US acting in bad faith include not just Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate change agreement and the Trans Pacific Partnership, but also President Clinton breaking the pledge to Russian Federation not to expand NATO further into eastern Europe and President George W. Bush killing the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

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