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Mike Pompeo: US wants to work with Europe on new Iran deal

17 May 2018

Trump's withdrawal from the deal has imperiled not only the accord, but the threat of sanctions could trickle down to European companies doing business with Iran.

Recall that the USA withdrawal from the agreement with Iran was an unpleasant surprise for the European allies of Washington, provoking instability in the oil market and strengthen the threat of war in the middle East. North Korea, which is about to start negotiations on its nuclear programme with the United States, will now be much more skeptical about any possible agreement with Trump.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iran nuclear deal, signed in 2015 between the US, Iran, the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany, aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear programme while lifting sanctions on Iran, was and remains the best possible mechanism to satisfy the interests of all parties concerned. The truthful question they were presenting was: Should we pull out of a flawed deal without going through all the downstream consequences, and without a complete understanding with allies as to next steps?

Trump's move received enthusiastic support only from Iran's bitter enemies in the Middle East - Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. I have one today at 6:00.

At the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, a reliable opponent of the Iran deal, analysts were baffled. "The policy of the administration is to make sure that Iran never gets close to deliverable nuclear weapons".

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"It won't be easy, that's clear to all of us".

Still, search a little and you could find folks who were defending the pullout whole-heartedly.

Memo to the president: They don't give Nobel prizes for that.

After an hour-long meeting at European Union headquarters in Brussels, Zarif said he believed both sides were "on the right track" to make sure that the interests of the deal's "remaining participants, particularly Iran, will be preserved and guaranteed".

Other reasons were political, saying that Europe also has the same goals as the United States in wanting to limit Iran's regional presence and missile capabilities.

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"The removal of sanctions under the deal has already produced disastrous results", he said.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said before the meeting in Brussels that "the United Kingdom and our European partners continue to view the nuclear deal as vital for our shared security, and remain fully committed to upholding it".

"They have chose to pull out, we don't think that is necessarily the right thing to do, given that Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA, so we want to hear a little bit more from Washington about their proposals". It said Iran could still shoot off those ballistic missiles, obviously meant to transport nukes someday.

In a statement, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said after talks with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, that both countries were determined "to conserve the essence of the Iran nuclear deal". They include retaliatory sanctions, allowing the European Investment Bank to invest directly in Iran and coordinating euro-denominated credit lines from European governments.

"The advantages from the Iranians' point of view is that they should have some benefits from economic participation and economic engagement with us in the west".

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Mike Pompeo: US wants to work with Europe on new Iran deal