Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Tuesday met Federica Mogherini, the European Union foreign policy chief, in Brussels, in order to discuss the potential future of the Iran nuclear deal.
The administration says the lifting of sanctions as part of the nuclear pact had allowed Iran to build up its military, with Trump claiming on Saturday that Tehran’s defense spending had risen by 40 percent since 2015.
The European Union exported almost -11 billion ($13 billion) in goods to Iran in 2017, a 66% increase from 2015.
Mr Zarif’s diplomatic tour took him to Beijing at the weekend and will see him visit Brussels later in the week, as the worldwide backers of the agreement scramble to save it.
The steps forward underscored the EU’s hopes that diplomacy and the promise of economic benefits might keep Iran in the fold of a nuclear deal that Europe sees as essential to security. While both Saudi Arabia and Israel have welcomed Trump’s decision to come out of the deal, the European powers issued a statement expressing “regret and concern” over the development and their “continuing commitment” to the deal overseen by them. Moreover, for a US administration that has made it a habit of accusing other countries of “undermining the rules-based order”, this action has severely undermined the rules-based global order.
In an ironic twist, President Donald Trump’s diplomatic progress in North Korea may have played a major role in his decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement.
European officials have said they are looking for ways to help their companies escape the brunt of the US sanctions.
Iran denies that version of events, saying the Israeli strikes were launched on “invented pretexts”.
With Pompeo seemingly assuming the “good cop” role on behalf of the Trump administration, it was left to newly appointed U.S. national security advisor John Bolton to remind Europe its firms could be punished if they didn’t adhere to American measures.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke Friday and underlined their aim of preserving the deal and peace in the Mideast.
The signing of the document was preceded by lengthy negotiations due to the fact that Iran found not taken into account by the worldwide atomic energy Agency (IAEA) centrifuges for uranium enrichment.
“We will be looking at a package of measures that we may be able to devise as Europeans to encourage the Iranians to stay in the deal”, he told reporters.
World powers agreed to lift some of the economic sanctions imposed on Iran in return for the latter agreeing to limit its nuclear activity to peaceful and civilian purposes. He will then go to Brussels to meet counterparts from Germany, Britain and France “about the fate of the nuclear deal”, Iranian state television said.
Trump has effectively hijacked the agenda of the meeting in Bulgaria, which was originally meant to discuss ties with the Balkans, amid the worst rift in transatlantic relations since the 2003 Iraq war.