European Union hopes to take Iran deal out of 'intensive care' within weeks

Howard TerryMay 17, 2018

Britain, France and Germany were to press Iran yesterday to stay in the nuclear accord which US President Donald Trump abandoned last week and which has left Europe with few ways of keeping the accord's benefits flowing to Tehran.

"We are working with our European Union colleagues and directly both with the USA and with the European Union to try and both protect our businesses as well as encourage the U.S.to allow us to continue economic ties because we think that's important", she said.

Iran's foreign minister said he had a constructive meeting with EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini on Tuesday, and he was optimistic Iran's interests in the nuclear deal could still be preserved despite the USA withdrawal from the pact.

Merkel described the deal as "everything other than ideal", but argued that global nuclear authorities said Iran was sticking to its commitments.

All other parties have the regretted USA decision and announced that they would remain in the agreement.

But with the U.S. saying it had pulled out of the deal because of broader worries about Tehran's actions, the leaders said they would also "address concerns about Iran's role in the region, Iran's ballistic missile programme and what happens after 2025".

However on Tuesday the United States hit Iran's central bank governor with sanctions.

They also agreed to "initiate work to protect European companies negatively affected by the USA decision", which involves Washington reimposing sanctions on Iran.

"The broader U.S. -EU security relationship is at risk", a former U.S. envoy to the EU, Anthony Gardner, told the European Parliament on Wednesday. With the dollar playing the leading role on worldwide financial markets, re-imposing sanctions would mean cutting Iran off from the global financial system.

Trump announced the USA withdrawal from the JCPOA last Tuesday and outlined plans to re-impose sanctions on Iran which had been lifted as part of the accord.

"We are together expressed regret about the USA withdrawal from the nuclear agreement, but we felt that the lifting of sanctions related to nuclear weapons, and normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran are the main parts of the agreement", - said Mogherini.

Merkel said the Europeans aren't "blind" to threats posed by Iran's activities in Syria to Israel, for example.

Iranian officials have said they hope Europe will work with them to preserve the deal.

They tasked experts with coming up with measures for a meeting of their deputies in Vienna next week.

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