Foreign ministers from the top EU countries are meeting with Iranian delegates today to offer their continued support for Iran’s nuclear deal.
The meeting comes on the eve of a deadline for US president Trump to decide whether to implement new oil sanctions against Iran, which were lifted under the 2015 agreement.
What is the Iran nuclear deal?
The Iran nuclear deal was agreed back in 2015 between Iran and six countries: China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the US.
In the deal, the countries agreed to lift the crippling sanctions Iran had been subject to in order to limit the country’s controversial nuclear programme.
Iran maintains that it only uses nuclear power to develop a sufficient energy programme for the country, not for nuclear weapons.
The deal was seen as a great foreign policy success for all the nations involved.
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What does Trump think about it?
Unsurprisingly, Trump has regularly threatened to terminate the deal. In a speech at the White House in October, Trump said:
“I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification. We cannot continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.”
Trump wants the European allies to implement tougher conditions on Iran. In addition, he wants to make restrictions on the nuclear programme permanent. However, new sanctions would go against the terms of the 2015 deal.
The president has to decide by mid-January whether or not to implement sanctions on Iran.
What are European diplomats doing today?
At today’s meeting, organised by the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, the EU delegation will say they remain committed to the deal. As well, they will urge Iran to continue to comply with international nuclear inspectors.
EU countries have benefitted from the renewed oil trading with Iran since the deal was made over two years ago.