Germany seeking to keep Iran deal alive without United States: Maas

Charlene Craig
May 16, 2018

European Union and Iran agree to strengthen dialogue aimed at preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said, APA reports quoting Sputnik.

Iran's foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, met with his EU, British, French and German counterparts in Brussels today.

Zarif seemed open to the European stance and said he had a "very good and constructive" initial one-on-one with Mogherini.

Earlier, Donald Trump pulled out from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which is commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the United States was withdrawing from a 2015 deal negotiated by the Obama administration.

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office of the White House Thursday

"It is not the matter of Iran's nuclear deal, it is the matter of dignity of Europe because President Trump believes in unilateralism; he thinks he's master of the world, he's a business police of the world and he will make a decision and the other countries must obey him", Mr Mianji said.

According to Zarif, the objective of his trip is to get guarantees from the other participants of the nuclear deal that the interests of Iran will be protected.

On Sunday, US National Security Adviser John Bolton threatened the European allies that Washington is prepared to impose sanctions on European companies if their governments refuse to heed Trump's demand to stop dealing with Iran. Then he left Moscow for Brussels where he is slated to meet with the foreign ministers of UK, Germany, and France as well as the EU High Representative Mogherini. "That is clear to us all", he said.

The US treasury said the move would cut off Iran's access to the critical bank network.

Tehran has warned it is prepared to resume "industrial-scale" uranium enrichment "without any restrictions" unless Europe can provide solid guarantees that it can maintain the economic benefits it gained from the nuclear agreement despite Washington reimposing sanctions.

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After the President Donald Trump announced his withdrawal from the Iran deal, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said his decision was "disappointing".

The European Union can not provide legal and economic guarantees to Iran after the United States pulled out of the 2015 nuclear accord, but is serious about seeking a way to keep investment flowing, the EU's top diplomat said on Tuesday.

After long negotiations, Iran agreed in July 2015 to freeze its nuclear program in return for the repeal of punishing worldwide sanctions.

Iran said on Wednesday that new sanctions imposed on it by Washington were an attempt to derail efforts to save the 2015 nuclear deal by its remaining signatories following the US withdrawal from the accord.

European Union leaders at a summit in Sofia are expected to discuss measures that the bloc might take to shield European companies from renewed US sanctions on Iran.

Europe, Iran seek to save nuclear deal after U.S. pullout
A number of voices in Iran have suggested the deal is unlikely to survive. In the past week, it has slapped a new series of sanctions against Iran.

But European businesses and Iranian moderates need relatively swift assurances that trade will be protected.

German exports to Iran totalled almost 3 billion euros in 2017, while French exports soared from 562 million euros in 2015 to 1.5 billion in 2017 and oil giant Total has pledged to invest some $5 billion in the South Pars gas field.

Measures could include retaliatory sanctions, allowing the European Investment Bank to invest in Iran and coordinating euro-denominated credit lines from European governments.

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