Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Europe seeks to sweeten Iran deal, considers standing up to United States sanctions

Europe seeks to sweeten Iran deal, considers standing up to United States sanctions

Iran's foreign minister arrived in Beijing Sunday, Iranian media said, on the first leg of a whirlwind diplomatic tour created to try and rescue the nuclear deal left on the brink of collapse after the U.S. pulled out.

A lengthy government statement issued Friday said the other parties to the agreement - especially Britain, France and Germany - must safeguard the accord, implement their commitments, and "proceed from giving pledges to taking practical action without any preconditions".

Iran says it is ready to restart its nuclear program on an "industrial scale" in the wake of the decision by US President Donald Trump to abandon the deal that curbs the country's nuclear ambitions. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made such opening remarks at talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif Moscow, today, on May 14.

After a meeting of the foreign ministers of Iran, Britain, France and Germany, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the group will come forward with measures in the next few weeks after tasking experts to protect European business in Iran.

The US says firms have six months to halt business and can not enter into new contracts or they will face sanctions.

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It said in a statement that they underlined their aim of preserving the Iran deal after the United States' withdrawal, and that both expressed concern about recent developments in the region.

Zarif said he was seeking "assurances" from the nuclear deal's backers following the withdrawal of the US.

Israel and its allies have blamed Iran's Revolutionary Guards for initiating Thursday's exchange by launching missiles into the occupied Golan Heights.

What are the latest United States sanctions moves? We have the support of the Arab oil-producing monarchies and many others. That means that anyone, in any country, who does business with Seif or Tarzali could themselves be punished with sanctions, cutting them off from the US financial system.

President Trump believed the agreement did not benefit the United States and that Iran allegedly resumed the program. Citing data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the newspaper explained that Iranian military spending has increased by only about 30 percent from 2015, the year the Iran deal was reached, to last year.

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But, why is Europe scrambling to defend and save the Iran nuclear deal?

European diplomats acknowledged that the EU support, however honest, risked looking hollow after Trump reimposed an array of wide sanctions last week on Iran that will hit European companies investing there.

"I think that will sink in, and we'll see what happens then".

Seif, whose role is equivalent to the Federal Reserve chairman in the US, oversees major financial decisions in Iran.

"Zarif is saying we have our hardliners and ... who knows what they're going to do", Maloney said. In this case, the USA chose to also impose "secondary sanctions", which also apply to non-Americans and non-U.S. companies.

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Those impacts will only become apparent once America's partners give their own response to Trump's decision, and when details of how the US measures are implemented are clear, the IG said.

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