Iran hardliners lay out conditions for deal talks

Iranians set fire to a US flag during a demonstration in Tehran

Iranians set fire to a US flag during a demonstration in Tehran

After the President threatened foreign firms that continue trading with Iran with "strong sanctions", Trump's national security adviser John Bolton told American TV he thought the United Kingdom and France would follow suit and ditch the 2015 deal.

He said: "What we are going to do tomorrow in Brussels is we are going to have a conversation about what we can do to help United Kingdom firms, European firms have some confidence that they can still do business".

But Bolton didn't rule out sanctions for European companies doing business with Iran.

So far, Britain, France, Germany, the European Union, China and Russian Federation have said they remain committed to the deal. The three nations' leaders all had personally met with Trump pleading for him not to pull out.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hailed as "very good and constructive" the meeting he had on May 15 in Brussels with the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini.

Ominous was the response of Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, who was quoted as saying the United States "no longer wants to cooperate with other parts in the world", and that it is now turning its back on multilateral relations "with a ferocity that can only surprise us".

Others were dubious that withdrawing from the nuclear deal would prove effective, particularly since it shattered an global alliance that worked to negotiate the deal with Iran. "We will have to see whether (those) remaining in the JCPOA can deliver those benefits to Iran", he said on arrival in Brussels.

Bolton said Europe was still digesting the May 8 move by Trump.

However, the U.S. withdrawal seriously jeopardises the legitimacy of the agreement.

In his own homeground, Trump's withdrawal announcement has come under severe criticism. In 2012, Iran had an estimated 11,500 centrifuges for nuclear fuel enrichment and almost seven tons of low enriched uranium. "A wiser path would have been to live with the JCPOA, continue negotiations with Europeans and others on a successor pact to extend Iranian nuclear constraints, push for new sanctions tied to Iran's ballistic missile program and do more to frustrate Iran's efforts around the Middle East, including keeping USA military forces in Syria". Moscow has previously stated its strong support for the agreement. "The circumstances I'm in now is that I'm the national security adviser to the president".

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iran nuclear deal, signed in 2015 between the US, Iran, the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany, aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear programme while lifting sanctions on Iran, was and remains the best possible mechanism to satisfy the interests of all parties concerned.

She added: "Britain, France and Germany were of the opinion that the agreement against Iran's nuclear armament is an agreement that certainly has weaknesses, but an agreement we should stand by".

There has also been some influence by the Jewish organisations in the U.S. who, in the aftermath of President Trump's announcement, wasted no time in lobbying foreign embassies to support his stance.

"I'm not going to pretend to you now that it will be easy but we are determined to do that and - as far as we possibly can - to protect our businesses from the effects of American primary and secondary sanctions".

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