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Diplomats scramble to salvage Iran nuclear deal but little hope in sight

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Diplomats scramble to salvage Iran nuclear deal but little hope in sight

vienna talks iran deal
Photo: AP

Today, high-level representatives from the remaining members of the Iran nuclear deal—China, France, Germany, Iran, Russia and the UK—will meet in Vienna to discuss the future of the pact.

The landmark deal is facing collapse. In May, one year after withdrawing from the agreement, the US began its enforcement of ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions that targeted Iranian oil exports and significantly damaged the economy.

Matters became more complicated on June 19, when Iran shot down a US drone and President Donald Trump responded with still tougher sanctions, restricting Iran’s access to financial resources and freezing assets held in the US. Compounding matters, Iran’s weapons-grade uranium production yesterday exceeded the limit set in the 2015 nuclear deal and its foreign ministry threatened a permanent closure of diplomatic relations with the US.

The remaining signatories face an uphill battle today as they try to salvage the deal. Even an economic incentivisation program for Iranian oil would be unlikely to dissuade Tehran’s nuclear development now due to the overwhelming strength of US sanctions. Without a united front on the issue, expect Iran to play tensions among the EU, US and others against each other in the medium-term, exerting pressure with further nuclear development.

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