Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

European Union voices support for Iran nuclear deal as USA mulls withdrawal

European Union voices support for Iran nuclear deal as USA mulls withdrawal

However, over the past year, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has imposed new sanctions against a number of Iranian and worldwide entities which have, allegedly, had links with Iran's developing pace of missile program.

The push for new sanctions appears to have gained new life amid the recent wave of anti-regime protests in Iran and more specifically the Iranian government's harsh crackdown on demonstrators last week.

And there's a warning that if Trump reimposes sanctions, the pact could fall apart.

"The aim is to send a message to Washington that Iran is complying and that it is better to have the nuclear agreement than to isolate Tehran", one diplomat said.

According to two United States sources, Trump had not made a decision by Wednesday, while Johnson told the British parliament on Tuesday that London was urging "our friends in the White House not to throw it away".

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Senior officials have told AFP they "expect" Trump to extend waivers on sanctions against Iran on Friday to keep the United States in line with the 2015 deal, which the president has repeatedly lambasted.

Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary, who represented one of the three EU states in the meeting hosted by the European Commission took the stance that the USA must come up with a viable alternative before it can scrap the agreement.

"You either waive the sanctions or you don't and if you don't you're in breach of the JCPOA", the official said.

The deal struck in 2015 between seven world powers - the U.S., UK, Iran, Russia, France, China, and Germany - was one of the signature foreign policy achievements of Barack Obama's presidency.

The US has said it would consider scrapping the 2015 deal, in which Iran restricted its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief, but the European Union parties remain committed to the agreement.

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"Iran is ready to increase the speed of its nuclear activities in various areas, especially enrichment, several times more than [in the] pre-JCPOA [nuclear deal] era", Behrooz Kamalvandi, the deputy chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, told Iranian national TV on Wednesday.

"This is why we Europeans think it is imperative to preserve the agreement", Gabriel said, adding that the deal had "fenced in an acute crisis" and was now "a central part of our security" for Europeans. European countries are banking on the deal, as many began investing in Iran after the sanctions were lifted.

Another US official said Trump was expected by some officials to renew the sanctions waivers but stressed that no final decision had been made.

Trump will have a series of decisions to make on the deal in the days following the first waiver deadline on Friday.

Britain's foreign secretary says alongside the pact, Tehran must be pressed on other issues.

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