Published: Wed, May 16, 2018

US Targeting China by Dealing a Blow to Iran Nuclear Deal

US Targeting China by Dealing a Blow to Iran Nuclear Deal

The meeting follows this week's USA decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, to which Germany, France and Britain are also signatories, alongside Russian Federation and China.

The steps forward underscored the EU's hopes that diplomacy and the promise of economic benefits might keep Iran in the fold of a nuclear deal that Europe sees as essential to security.

"For Iran, it is also important that China is eager to make diplomatic efforts to preserve the nuclear agreement". His decision was greeted with widespread opposition, both worldwide and among many USA leaders.

Under the 2015 deal, Iran would reduce its ability to enrich uranium and allow inspections by an independent agency in return for the lifting of strict sanctions which were choking the country's stagnating economy.

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz spoke with his United States counterpart Steve Mnuchin in order to secure an exemption for German firms from the sanctions penalties, according to a report from German newspaper Handelsblatt on Friday. "It's clear that for that we have to maintain economic incentives, and that would not be easy after the USA decision" he said.

Le Maire said he was seeking USA exemptions for French countries already present in Iran, including Renault, Total, Sanofi, Danone, and Peugeot. Speaking at a Catholic Day conference in Muenster on Friday, Merkel said it would be hard to keep the deal alive, given that a "huge economic power has left".

Much is at stake for both countries.

Iran appeared determined not to be drawn into a wider regional conflict with Israel during the sensitive negotiations.

The European Union exported almost €11 billion ($13 billion) in goods to Iran in 2017, a 66% increase from 2015. Around 120 German firms have operations with their own staff in Iran, including industrial giant Siemens, and some 10,000 other German companies trade with Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif plans to visit Russia, China and several European countries during his working tour, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Sunday, without giving exact dates. "That means, it is concretely about damage limitation" and offering legal advice, he said. According to the analyst, European countries may draw Washington's attention to the fact that regardless of U.S. sanctions China is not going to halt its cooperation with Tehran.

"We are analyzing the situation and the impact of the [US] announcement on all our contractual agreements and we will then first discuss with our customers", Airbus said in a statement on Monday. "Do they want to do business with a threat?" he asked.

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