The Iran Deal Exposes Europe's Weaknesses as a Global Power

Iran, Gaza, Trump's steel and aluminium tariffs on the menu at EU leaders' dinner in Sofia

Iran's foreign minister said Wednesday that meetings with European Union leaders on salvaging the nuclear deal sent a strong political message but must now be turned into action.

U.S. President Trump declared on May 8 in a televised speech that the United States would withdraw from the deal, a landmark agreement signed in July 2015 by Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - plus the European Union (EU) and Germany.

Tehran has warned it is prepared to resume "industrial-scale" uranium enrichment "without any restrictions" unless Europe can provide solid guarantees that it can maintain the economic benefits it gained from the nuclear agreement despite the United States reimposing sanctions. "It is going to be very hard for us to preserve the economic benefits of the Iran deal", said a second senior European diplomat said.

Government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht said on Tuesday that that Iran will exit the nuclear deal if remaining in it proves more "harmful than beneficial".

Juncker is set to jet off to Sofia, Bulgaria, for a working dinner with EU leaders on the eve of the EU-Western Balkan summit.

Iran, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the US, UK, France, China and Russian Federation - and Germany all signed up to a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

EU Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete is due to visit Tehran at the weekend to discuss energy cooperation between Iran and the bloc, the European Commission announced.

Sharif compares Afghanistan, Pakistan's narratives in the wake of isolation
Facing backlash and ire from worldwide and local media, the NSC meet was called. He said misunderstandings are removed in the light of the facts.

Europeans have sought to play down expectations of Tuesday's meeting, stressing the enormous challenge of finding a way around USA sanctions punishing foreign businesses trading with Iran, which have global reach.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was not optimistic about the chances of avoiding US sanctions on Iran that could be used to penalize European companies that continue to do business with Tehran. French exports to Iran doubled to $1.79 billion a year ago, according to customs data reported by Reuters.

He said: "What we are going to do tomorrow in Brussels is we are going to have a conversation about what we can do to help United Kingdom firms, European firms have some confidence that they can still do business".

Among his criticism of the Iran nuclear deal is the fact that it did not cover a wide range of issues, including Iran's perceived destabilising role in the Middle East, where it is at daggers drawn with Israel and Saudi Arabia. Trump also announced that the USA re-imposes the "highest level of economic sanctions" on the Islamic Republic.

All sides expressed a desire and good will to save the Iran nuclear deal, yet the Europeans still did not give Iran any guarantees.

On Tuesday, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire and Le Drian held a closed-door meeting with more than 6o French businesses that are "present in Iran or have trade relations with the country", a statement issued by the economy ministry said.

Among them is the possible use of an EU "blocking regulation" which would, in essence, ban European companies from respecting American sanctions when the sanctions might damage EU interests, notably trade and the movement of capital.

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