European powers urge Trump to preserve Iran nuclear deal


The deal is one of several foreign policy issues where Europe's most powerful economies stand in opposition to the Trump administration.

However, Iran disagreed with Trump that its long-range ballistic missile program could be sanctioned under the terms of the current deal.

President Trump is issuing a final waiver on Iran sanctions, the administration announced Friday.

At the same time the U.S. imposed fresh sanctions on 14 individuals and entities over alleged rights abuses.

BBC state department correspondent Barbara Plett-Usher says no global agreement can be negotiated in 120 days and Iran is not interested, so Mr Trump will have either to back down or walk away from the deal.

The White House wants European Union signatories to agree permanent restrictions on Iran's uranium enrichment.

But it is not clear that comments from the likes of Qasemi and Ravanchi refer only to the resumption of voluntarily suspended nuclear activities, especially given that they are directed more specifically at the US.

He also wanted to extend legislation to make explicit that testing of long-range missiles was "inseparable" from the nuclear weapons programme, so Iran's ballistics testing should also "be subject to severe sanctions". He told reporters, "If the United States refuses to renew the sanction waivers, it means that the United States has pulled out of the JCPOA". Trump gave European allies four months to re-write key provisions of the deal or he said the United States will walk away from it. The recent crackdown on dissent in Iran gives us a good opening for that approach. UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson insisted that the JCPOA has been successful in preventing Iran's progress toward a nuclear weapon, but he also challenged the Trump administration to come up with a better alternative.

In a statement Saturday, Iran's Foreign Ministry said the Trump administration's "hostile and illegal act" in including Larijani in its sanctions list "has gone way beyond all internationally accepted behavior red lines". JCPOA is not renegotiable: rather than repeating exhausted rhetoric, USA must bring itself into full compliance -just like Iran.

Trump had vowed to rip up the agreement during his election campaign and has repeatedly referred to it as "the worst deal ever", accusing Iran of violating the "spirit" of the pact.

What is the nuclear deal? Among the protesters' grievances were complaints that the nuclear accord has failed to quickly boost the Iranian economy as promised by its key backers, including Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Despite the Iran nuclear deal, the United States has sanctioned around 100 individuals and entities involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and other activities which the United States saw as "illicit". But his explicit warning to Europe that the deal must be fixed by the time the next sanctions waivers are due in the spring creates a high-stakes diplomatic deadline that will be hard to meet.

What does Mr Trump want to change?

Verifying that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal is part of it.

But the president stressed this is the last time he would waive sanctions against Tehran.

Mr Trump often touts his deal-making skills and this tactic appeared created to see if some kind of agreement could be reached to fix what he did not like about the deal. Instead, I have outlined two possible paths forward: "either fix the deal's disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw", the president said in a statement.

The 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was signed by the US under the previous administration of president Barack Obama as well as Iran, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany.

Top European diplomats offered Iran's foreign minister blanket support Thursday for the landmark nuclear deal with Tehran even as the White House weighs whether to step away from the pact.

By Friday, Trump must decide to approve an extension or scrap the deal altogether.