European powers propose new Iran sanctions to meet Trump ultimatum

European powers propose new Iran sanctions to meet Trump ultimatum
# 17 March 2018 04:35 (UTC +04:00)

Britain, France and Germany have proposed fresh EU sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missiles and its role in Syria’s war, according to a confidential document, in a bid to persuade Washington to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, APA reports quoting Reuters.

The joint paper, seen by Reuters, was sent to European Union capitals on Friday, said two people familiar with the matter, to sound out support for such sanctions as they would need the support of all 28 EU member governments.

The proposal is part of an EU strategy to save the accord signed by world powers that curbs Tehran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons, namely by showing U.S. President Donald Trump that there are other ways to counter Iranian power abroad.

Trump delivered an ultimatum to the European signatories on Jan. 12. It said they must agree to “fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal” - which was sealed under his predecessor Barack Obama - or he would refuse to extend U.S. sanctions relief on Iran. U.S. sanctions will resume unless Trump issues fresh “waivers” to suspend them on May 12.

“We will therefore be circulating in the coming days a list of persons and entities that we believe should be targeted in view of their publicly demonstrated roles,” the document said, referring to Iranian ballistic missile tests and Tehran’s role in backing Syria’s government in the seven-year-old civil war.

The steps would go beyond what a U.S. State Department cable seen by Reuters last month outlined as a path to satisfy Trump: simply committing to improving the nuclear deal.

It also reflects frustration with Tehran. “We’re getting irritated. We’ve been talking to them for 18 months and have had no progress on these issues,” a diplomat said.

European Union foreign ministers will discuss the proposal at a closed-door meeting on Monday in Brussels, diplomats said.

Analysts say the nuclear agreement, touted at the time as a breakthrough reducing the risk of a devastating wider war in the Middle East, could collapse if Washington pulls out.

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