Europe battles to save Iran deal
Washington/Paris: Dismayed European allies sought to salvage the international nuclear pact and preserve their business with Iran on Wednesday after President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the landmark accord and ordered sanctions reimposed on Tehran.“The deal is not dead. There’s an American withdrawal from the deal but the deal is still there,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said. But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist who helped engineered the 2015 deal to ease Iran’s economically crippling isolation, told French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in a phone call that Europe had only a “limited opportunity” to preserve the pact, the Iranian Students’ News Agency reported.”“(Europe)…must, as quickly as possible, clarify its position and specify and announce its intentions with regard to its obligations,” ISNA quoted Rouhani as saying to Macron.Macron, who like other European leaders had lobbied Trump to keep the agreement signed before he took office, urged Rouhani to keep respecting the deal and consider broader negotiations.Trump said on Tuesday he would revive US economic sanctions, which would penalise foreign firms doing business with Tehran, to undermine what he called “a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made”. On Wednesday, he said Iran would now either negotiate or “something will happen”. It was not immediately clear what actions he was suggesting would take place.Iran has drafted a “proportional” plan to cope with the US move, the official news agency IRNA quoted government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht as saying. He said budgets had been drawn up to deal with various scenarios, though did not elaborate.