Published: Mon, March 19, 2018

EU Mulls Sanctions on Iran's Ballistic Missiles

EU Mulls Sanctions on Iran's Ballistic Missiles

U.S. President Trump has expressed frustration at a landmark agreement between world powers and Iran over Tehran's disputed nuclear program and cited Tehran's ballistic missiles and role in Syria's war as reasons the deal could be nullified.

A USA pullback probably would kill the deal outright, even if the Europeans and other parties to the agreement strive to keep it alive.

Trump has threatened to pull out of the agreement unless European allies help "fix" it with a follow-up accord.

While, President Trump had disagreement with Tillerson on several foreign policy issues, he only mentioned the Iran deal, when he spoke about his decision at the White House on Tuesday.

A canceled deal would thrill critics in Washington and the Middle East, but it would dismay U.S. military leaders who say the agreement is in USA national security interests, and roil relations with Europe.

Iran, which according to the United Nations atomic watchdog has been abiding by the deal since it came into force in January 2016, has ruled out any changes to the agreement.

Iran played down the potential impact on its landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers of the appointment of the hawkish Mike Pompeo as the new USA secretary of state, saying the change was an internal US matter. He wanted the deal to be stricter on Iran's nuclear programme and also address non-nuclear issues, like Iran's ballistic missiles, support for terrorism, and regional aggression. "In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. So I'm not sure that [nixing the Iran deal is] gonna end up having a detrimental effect", he said.

The ex-oilman had waged an often lonely battle within Mr. Trump's Cabinet to save the deal.

Rex Tillerson, who was sacked Tuesday as secretary of state, always concluded that Iran was complying as global monitors have reported, although not in its "spirit".

Transatlantic delegations will meet in Berlin today to discuss a way to bridge their differences over the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.

Senior officials from the countries which signed the deal held a quarterly meeting in Vienna on Friday.

Friday, a team of USA officials in Vienna for talks about the deal indicated the door wasn't entirely closed.

Hook said the US goal in pushing for curbs on Tehran's involvement in regional conflicts is "to bring about a change in the behavior of the Iranian regime".

Trump will remain under pressure from key advisors and United States allies to keep the deal in place, and this lobbying may influence his decision-making, as seen in his decision in August 2017 to reverse his campaign pledge to withdraw from Afghanistan. But Trump fired Tillerson last week, in part over his views on the deal and his handling of the talks.

European diplomats have been busy seeking renewed negotiations on Iran's missile program and even imposing fresh sanctions, in order to sate Trump's eagerness to jettison the pact, which was reached by his predecessor Barack Obama.

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