U.S and Europeans officials meet in Berlin to discuss future of Iran nuclear deal

U.S and Europeans officials meet in Berlin to discuss future of Iran nuclear deal

Country representatives will seek to bridge their differences over the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.

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Photo: Associated Press/Virginia Mayo

Transatlantic delegations will meet in Berlin today to discuss a way to bridge their differences over the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.

President Trump is threatening to withdraw the US from the deal by May 12 unless he can persuade European allies to agree to a follow-up accord which, among other things, forces Iran’s ballistic missile programme to be halted by tough sanctions. The EU and Iran see the missiles as unrelated to the nuclear deal. On Tuesday, Trump upped the ante by removing pro-deal Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. His replacement, anti-deal Mike Pompeo, will push for ditching the deal.

European officials are in a tricky position as the next Joint Commission on the deal nears on Friday. If Washington reinstates sanctions on Iran, European firms operating there will be hit with Washington-imposed fines, severely hurting a major part of their global revenues. However, any renegotiation must involve all signatories. As long-term Iranian allies, Russia and China are staunchly opposed to upending the status quo. Also, Iran has signalled they are willing to stay in the deal even if Washington pulls out. This may embolden the EU to take the risk of a US trade war to save the deal.