EME Outlook - - Contents -

All the lat­est sto­ries from Europe and the Mid­dle East

Dis­mayed Euro­pean al­lies sought to sal­vage the in­ter­na­tional nu­clear pact with Iran af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump pulled the United States out of the land­mark ac­cord, while of­fi­cials in Tehran poured scorn on the US leader.

“The deal is not dead. There’s an Amer­i­can with­drawal from the deal but the deal is still there,” French For­eign Min­is­ter, Jean-yves Le Drian said.

Trump an­nounced he would reim­pose US eco­nomic sanc­tions on Iran to un­der­mine what he called “a hor­ri­ble one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made”.

The 2015 agree­ment, worked out by the US, five other world pow­ers and Iran, lifted sanc­tions on Iran in ex­change for Tehran lim­it­ing its nu­clear pro­gram. The pact was de­signed to pre­vent Iran from ob­tain­ing a nu­clear bomb.

Trump com­plained that the deal, the sig­na­ture for­eign pol­icy achieve­ment of his Demo­cratic pre­de­ces­sor, Barack Obama, did not ad­dress Iran’s bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­gram, its nu­clear ac­tiv­i­ties be­yond 2025 or its role in con­flicts in Ye­men and Syria.

His de­ci­sion raises the risk of deep­en­ing con­flicts in the Mid­dle East, puts the United States at odds with Euro­pean diplo­matic and busi­ness in­ter­ests, and casts un­cer­tainty over global oil sup­plies.

It could also strengthen the hand of hard­lin­ers at the ex­pense of re­form­ers in Iran’s po­lit­i­cal scene.

“The re­gion de­serves bet­ter than fur­ther desta­bil­i­sa­tion pro­voked by Amer­i­can with­drawal. So we want to ad­here to it and see to it that Iran does

that Iran be­haves with re­straint,” he told French ra­dio sta­tion RTL.

The Euro­pean Union said it would re­main com­mit­ted to the deal and would en­sure sanc­tions on Iran re­main lifted, as long as Tehran meets its com­mit­ments.

France and oth­ers were well aware that there were con­cerns about is­sues other than nu­clear ca­pa­bil­ity, but they too could be ad­dressed with­out ditch­ing the nu­clear deal, Le Drian said.

The prospects of sav­ing the deal de­pend on whether in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies are will­ing and able to still do busi­ness with Iran due to the U.S. sanc­tions.

In a har­bin­ger of what could be in store, Trump’s new am­bas­sador to Ger­many said Ger­man busi­nesses should halt their ac­tiv­i­ties in Iran im­me­di­ately.

French Fi­nance Min­is­ter Bruno Le Maire said Trump’s de­ci­sion was a mis­take and that the US should not con­sider it­self the world’s “eco­nomic po­lice­man”.

Euro­pean com­pa­nies in­clud­ing car­maker PSA, plane man­u­fac­turer Air­bus and Siemens said they were keep­ing a close watch on the sit­u­a­tion.

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