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World prepares for United States sanctions on Iran

17 May 2018, 12:54 | Lionel James

Europe to seek exemptions from new US sanctions on Iran

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany - the three European signatories to pact - in Brussels on the last leg of a whirlwind diplomatic tour that also took in Russian Federation and China, the two other signatory nations.

Responding to a question about options available to refineries in the European Union and among the Asian buyers of Iran's oil to avoid the United States punishment in case of continuing purchase from Tehran, the expert said it should be considered in the context of the position of their national governments in each country.

"If the remaining five countries in the deal live up to their commitments and guarantee Iran's interests, the agreement will survive", he said during a meeting with visiting Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena.

On May 8, when US President Donald Trump announced his decision to quit the deal, Israel delivered strikes on Iranian military positions in Syria, according to Syrian media.

He said: "Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States".

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, speaking in Dublin, declared: "We are stakeholders" and will remain so.

Germany said it will spend the next few months trying to persuade Washington to change its mind.

Mr Le Drian has already described the U.S. sanctions as unacceptable, saying European business should not be required to pay for USA foreign policy decisions.

He added: "It's possible, it depends on the conduct of other governments".

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Within minutes of the President's announcement, Mrs May, French president Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a joint statement expressing their "regret and concern". "Now, that will not happen!"

In Beijing on Sunday Zarif said he was hopeful of forging a "clear future design" for the deal to save it from collapse after US President Donald Trump withdrew from it on Tuesday.

"[New Zealand companies] will lose in this sanction, we can buy, for example butter, from many other countries, that is why it is not in favour of New Zealand, it will not serve the New Zealand companies' interests". Macron told Trump in their telephone call on Saturday that he was anxious about stability in the Middle East, according to Macron's office.

We need a strategy that both isolates Iran and closes off Tehran's nuclear pathway by giving the United States and our allies access to the tools of financial and diplomatic pressure needed to confront the totality of the threat posed by the Islamic Republic's revolutionary military dictatorship. But in an interview aired on the ABC programme This Week, Bolton said, "That's not the policy of the administration".

The recent talks between the USA and European diplomats on how to fix the current Iran agreement foundered on the question of how to address the easing beginning in eight years of the nuclear constraints.

All said and done, we will see in the coming weeks if Tehran exits the JCPOA and be bold enough to restart high level uranium enrichment.

Despite complaints in European capitals, Mr. Bolton suggested that European allies might agree to new US approach once they digest Mr. Trump's decision and face the threat of sanctions.

"We are on the right path to move forward", he said.

"I think at the moment there's some feeling in Europe - they're really surprised we got out of it, really surprised at the reimposition of strict sanctions". Despite the private doubts among many European diplomats, their governments will say that they are sticking by the 2015 accord that gave Tehran sanctions relief in return for an end to its nuclear ambitions.



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