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European powers press for new Iran sanctions, to prevent Trump ending nuclear deal

Iran's nuclear deal is under threat [AFP]

Date of publication: 29 March, 2018

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Germany, France and the UK will press its EU partners to agree to new sanctions on Iran, as Trump threatens to pull the plus on a nuclear deal.
European powers are looking to persuade other EU parties to issue new sanctions on Iran in a last-minute bid to save a nuclear deal with Tehran, which could collapse in May if President Donald Trump does not extend sanctions relief.

Germany, France and the UK believe new sanctions on key Iranian regime figures could convince Trump not to pull the US out of a nuclear deal agreed between Tehran and world powers in 2015.

These new sanctions would not be as broad as the ones likely imposed on Iran if the nuclear deal fell through.

Trump has made repeated threats to withdraw from the pact that was agreed under his predecessor Barack Obama, which the current president has declared "the worst deal ever".

The deal rests on Trump's decision in May on extending sanctions relief for Iran. Failing to do so will ultimately end the deal, which supporters say has curbed Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Trump waived sanctions in January that saw the deal extended for five months, but he said he would not sign an extension again unless the "terrible flaws" were fixed.

The European powers hope that sanctions on certain members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards could appease Trump and see the deal survive another day, Reuters reported.

Closed door meeting are being held in Brussels between the key European powers and a number of other states as the clock ticks down to May.

If agreed, the sanctions could possibly include travel bans and asset freezes on around 15 individuals, diplomats told the agency.

Some of these figures are believed to be involved in Iran's contentious missile programme, which has been one of the major gripes of the US and their Middle East allies.

"The idea is to have a final decision on Iran sanctions by or at the April Foreign Affairs Council," the diplomat said.

Another diplomat told the agency some smaller parties still need time to agree to the deal.

According to a document seen by Reuters, the sanctions would be based on Iran's missile programme and its role in the Syria war. 

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