European countries reportedly propose new Iran sanctions to keep US in nuclear deal


(JTA) — Several European countries reportedly have proposed new sanctions on Iran in a bid to keep the United States in the 2015 nuclear deal.

The new European sanctions would punish Iran for its ballistic missiles that it publicly tested and its interference in Syria’s civil war, according to a confidential document seen by Reuters.

In January, the Trump administration said it would halt providing sanctions relief to Iran under the deal by May 12 unless the European powers that signed the pact in July 2015 agreed to “fix the terrible flaws.” The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between Iran and six world powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — could collapse if the U.S. pulls out.

The joint document by Britain, France and Germany said they were engaged in “intensive talks with the Trump administration to achieve a clear and lasting reaffirmation of U.S. support for the (nuclear) agreement beyond May 12,” Reuters reported.

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Foreign ministers of European Union countries were set to discuss the proposal on Monday in a closed door meeting, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed diplomat.

The document also indicates that the European powers would not be breaking the terms of the nuclear deal by adopting new sanctions that are not nuclear-related and that new sanctions are justified because Iran “did not commit further to stop undertaking ballistic missile destabilizing activities” under the nuclear agreement.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., in an interview on the CBS news program “Face the Nation” said he thinks that President Donald Trump will pull the U.S. out of the Iran deal in May.

“Right now it doesn’t feel like it’s gonna be extended,” Corker said. “I think the president likely will move away from it, unless our European counterparts really come together on a framework. And it doesn’t feel to me that they are.”

Corker added that he did not think the United States pulling out of a nuclear deal with Iran would affect possible negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.