Saturday, 21 April, 2018

Iranian official warns Europeans against imposing sanctions to 'please' Trump

Patty Aguilar | 18 March, 2018, 02:47

On Friday, it was reported that Britain, France and Germany have proposed fresh European Union sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missiles and its role in Syria's to try to persuade Donald Trump to preserve a 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran.

Trump has said that if the deal between Iran and six big powers, which curtailed Iran´s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief, is not "improved" by then, he will withdraw.

While Trump has repeatedly dismissed the deal as "the worst and most one-sided transaction Washington has ever entered into", Zarif has underscored that Iran is prepared for various scenarios.

Iran was expected Friday to resist U.S. pressure to toughen the 2015 nuclear deal as time runs out to meet President Donald Trump´s ultimatum to fix the accord by May 12.

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.

His comments contrast with those of Iranian officials including President Hassan Rouhani, who has said Iran will stick with the agreement as long as it is beneficial for the country - even if the United States leaves.

Trump's decision this week to replace Tillerson with Mike Pompeo as secretary of state has been widely seen as another bad omen for the agreement.

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If the Americans feel weakness, they will try to coerce North Korea into making maximum concessions or even capitulating. These are obvious non-starters, and would be clear signals that North Korea is not serious about denuclearizing.

President Trump has vowed to walk away from the 2015 agreement in mid-May unless European countries join the U.S.in addressing what the president says are its fatal flaws.

In January, Trump warned that the US would withdraw from the 2015 pact unless Iran accepts additional nuclear restrictions.

Shamkhani made the remarks as he met today in Tehran with Yusuf bin Alawi, the minister responsible for foreign affairs in Oman, a key Gulf ally of the USA with close ties to Iran.

"There is a lot we agree on and where we disagree we are working to bridge our differences", he said in Vienna.

Still, the issue is highly sensitive because the 2015 pact between Iran and six major powers ― Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States ― lifted worldwide sanctions that crippled Iran's oil-based economy.

Many of Trump's top national security aides, like Tillerson, have argued that the United States is better off with the Iran nuclear deal than without it.

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