US, EU Countries Discuss Fate of Iran Nuclear Deal


The talks between Trump and Netanyahu took place in the White House on March 5.

"President Trump has called on the Congress and our European allies to enact real and lasting restraints on Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions".

If Trump opts to reimpose US sanctions on Iran after May 12, European Union officials have warned that Brussels might try to block the American measures and protect European companies investing in the Iranian market.

Former U.S. officials and serving European officials were at a loss to gauge how the switch would affect negotiations between the United States and three European powers - Britain, France and Germany - that are also parties to the agreement.

Additionally, Trump threatened to pull-out of the Iran deal - a threat he has repeatedly made throughout his tenure as president and a candidate - if the steps he is proposing are not taken.

Iran, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the U.S., UK, France, Russia, and China - Germany and the European Union struck the nuclear deal on July 14, 2015.

Trump delivered an ultimatum to the European powers on January 12, saying they must agree to "fix the awful flaws of the Iran nuclear deal" or he would refuse to extend USA sanctions relief on Iran.

Trump's January ultimatum set May 12 as the next key deadline, when he will have to decide whether to re-impose a slew of US sanctions that were lifted as part of the nuclear deal.

In a January 13 cable, the State Department sketched out a path under which the three European allies would simply commit to try to improve the deal over time in return for Trump keeping the pact alive by renewing sanctions relief in May. "However, my understanding is he doesn't want the deal to disappear", said a former senior US official.

In Washington, Democrats in Congress and retired diplomats voiced concern that the collapse of the Iran deal could undermine high-stakes talks planned for May between Trump and North Korea's dictator, Kim Jong Un, by calling into question if Washington would stand by its worldwide commitments. Trump cited Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's support for the deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as a reason for the top diplomat's surprise sacking Tuesday.

"The North Koreans will wonder about whether one can have credible negotiations with the United States", said a former senior US official.

In the past two months, the four nations have held two talks. That stance was echoed Tuesday by the USA general who heads the US military command responsible for the Middle East and Central Asia.

His comments centered on the deal addressing United States and global concerns about Iran having a nuclear weapons program.