Europe ditches Trump over Iran 

Europe ditches Trump over Iran 

European powers have moved to protect the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement by vowing to take steps to protect their firms already doing business in the oil-rich state from any US sanctions.

France said it would do everything possible to protect European businesses after Donald Trump announced the US would leave the deal agreed and impose the highest level of sanctions. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe would face increasing responsibility to secure peace and seek political solutions to conflicts, underlining the commitment of Germany, France and Britain to the accord.

Merkel told her Christian Democrat colleagues that “we have taken note with regret but also concern of this withdrawal by the United States of America, which is, of course, serious for such an agreement. We will remain committed to this agreement and try to do everything so that Iran also fulfils its commitments in the future.”

The veteran chancellor added “yesterday showed us once again that we will face more responsibility in Europe, in foreign policy, in the area of securing peace, in the area of the political solutions we must find”. 

EU foreign ministers are due to meet Iran’s foreign affairs chief Mohammad Javad Zarif next week to offer steps to protect the deal from US Treasury sanctions due to be implemented over the next 180 days.

“The international reach of US sanctions makes the US the economic policeman of the planet, and that is not acceptable,” French finance minister Bruno Le Maire told France Culture radio.

French President Emmanuel Macron would also speak to Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani about “our wish to stay in the agreement”, according to Jean-Yves Le Drian, his foreign minister. 

“Iran needs to continue its determination to remain in the pact in return for economic benefits that the Europeans will try to preserve,” Le Drian added.

To support the more moderate voices in Iran, like Rouhani, EU foreign ministers criticised Trump’s decision, saying it had made the world less secure.

After the failure of diplomatic charm offensives by Macron, Merkel and UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson to Washington, the EU appears ready to unite to protect the deal, risking an economic collision with Washington. 

On Tuesday, Trump warned he would penalise European firms that continued to trade with Iran.

The head of the UN nuclear watchdog says Iran is fulfilling its commitments under the nuclear deal.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s director-general, Yukiya Amano, said: “The IAEA can confirm that the nuclear-related commitments are being implemented by Iran”. 

The Vienna-based agency monitors and verifies Iran’s adherence to the 2015 deal. 

Amano said: “Iran is subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime … which is a significant verification gain.”

 

 

Iran has fascinating architectural gems. Picture credit: Flickr

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