How Iran could turn our friends against us

by Frankie Norman May 17, 2018, 1:22
How Iran could turn our friends against us

France's foreign minister had said on Friday he had asked for exemptions or longer grace periods for the exit of French companies such as oil-and-gas giant Total SA and auto maker Peugeot SA that have returned to the Iranian market since the 2015 nuclear accord.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said Tehran will stay committed to the deal, which China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany also signed, provided those powers ensured Iran was protected from sanctions.

Britain's foreign minister Boris Johnson said that he will discuss ways to protect companies doing business with Iran during the meeting with his European counterparts on Tuesday before Mr Zarif joined the talks.

In the administration's view, measures like crippling US-led sanctions against Pyongyang's critical industries brought North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to his knees - and the same policy should work with Tehran, as well.

Part of the flaw with the Iran deal that President Donald Trump rejected was it enticed Europe and the US into economic relations with Iran that would work against holding the country accountable for violations of the agreement, Bolton said.

Gulf countries, which were harmed by this nuclear deal, believe that the latter allowed Iran to expand in our region, and it's thus a must to find a way to deter it and force it to return to its borders and to convince Europe that they (Gulf states) also need guarantees for their security and stability. It also, as National Security Adviser John Bolton spelled out after Trump's speech, sent a message to North Korea that "the United States will not accept inadequate deals".

Merkel said the Europeans aren't "blind" to threats posed by Iran's activities in Syria to Israel, for example.

As a quid pro quo, all global sanctions against Iran, the fifth largest exporter of oil, by USA and other countries, were lifted and Iran's economy, which had suffered all these years, was able to revive and come back to its feet.

Bolton's statement comes a day after Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif began a tour of the five nations still in the Iran nuclear agreement. Obama notes that the prohibition on Iran obtaining nuclear weapons is permanent and other provisions that do expire won't for 10 to 25 years.

Historic deal on Iran's nuclear program from 2015 provides for the removal of sanctions against Iran in exchange for limiting its opportunities for the enrichment and storage of nuclear materials.

Their failure to convince President Trump will see the USA reimpose sanctions and put European businesses under pressure to wind up their links with the country.

The major concern was, and still exists, that the only option left to halt an intransigent Iran seeking a nuclear bomb, would be war.

"I would like our debate to reconfirm without any doubt that as long as Iran respects the provisions of the deal, the European Union will also respect it", Tusk said in a letter to the leaders on the eve of the summit.

It reiterated that Iran was preparing to resume "industrial-scale" uranium enrichment "without any restrictions" unless Europe provided solid guarantees that it could maintain trade ties despite renewed USA sanctions. "When I make promises, I keep them".

"So there will be a wind-down period of those sanctions but we're going to be pressing ahead with the President's goal of having a new deal".

As those sanctions kick in, it will have an even broader effect as well, Bolton said.

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