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Report: Iran feeling Europe pinch following Trump threat on nuclear deal

Iran Foreign minister Javad Zarif looks with representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs in Brussels on January 11, 2018. (AFP)

European countries have increased pressure over Iran’s ballistic missile program and its role in regional conflicts even as they try to tackle President Trump’s threat to nullify nuclear deal with Tehran, a news report has revealed.

A Financial Times report, quoting foreign ministry sources in Berlin, said that German, French and British foreign ministers – and EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini – agreed with Iran to hold an “intensive and very serious dialogue” on Tehran’s missile program and regional influence.

According to the report, Germany’s foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, briefed Rex Tillerson, his US counterpart, about the plan after the European officials met Javad Zarif in Brussels last week. The meeting was held a day before Trump’s warning to European signatories that this was their “last chance” to fix it.

The report says that European diplomats are seeking more information from White House officials to understand what Trump wants and how they might be able to meet his demands within the deadline he has set. “Basically it’s an ultimatum to the EU.

Part of doomsday

If you don’t deliver in the next four months, then you are part of doomsday — and you are siding with Iran and not with us,” one European diplomat is quoted to have said.

Another diplomat said that “quite a lot” Trump has pushed for “is already happening”. “We have got a reasonable amount of time to think it through, and talk to the Americans about what this is really about,” the diplomat said.

They point out that the EU has long expressed a willingness to take action over Iran’s non-nuclear activities, including its missile tests and its involvement in the conflict in Syria and other Middle East countries.

According to a Trump administration official, the demands include provisions for a pact with Europeans to impose new joint EU-US sanctions on Iran should it come within a year of having a nuclear weapon. The US President has also said he wants a permanent mechanism to trigger sanctions if Iran tests long-range missiles or thwarts nuclear inspections.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 17 January 2018 KSA 17:15 - GMT 14:15
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