Europeans Prepare Side-Deal to Try to Save Iran Nuclear Pact

Envoy says US not trying to renegotiate existing deal, wants supplement

French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a Wednesday speech to the US Congress, assuring them that whatever happens, Iran will not be allowed a nuclear weapon. These comments came amid last minute efforts by European nations to keep the US from withdrawing from the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran.

France’s Macron addresses Congress

The three EU nations party to the deal, France, Germany, and Britain, are putting the finishing touches on a package to try to convince President Trump to keep the deal intact. This will not be a part of the P5+1 deal itself, but seeks to address Trump’s demands with respect to the deal.

The details of the EU package are not yet available. The expectation, however, is that this will be a completely separate agreement, between the three EU nations and the US. This is believed to involve the three EU nations accepting certain US positions against Iran.

For instance, President Trump has objected to Iran testing conventional missiles, and has sought to use a UN Security Council resolution to punish them. That resolution, however, was written explicitly with nuclear-capable missiles in mind. Early in negotiations the suggestion was the EU nations would agree to support such US measures at the UN. It’s not clear if this suggestion will be in the final document, and with Russia and China not a party to the sideline deal, it also isn’t clear it would mean much.

US officials are no longer insisting that the P5+1 deal, as such, be changed. US envoy Christopher Ford said Wednesday that the US wants a “supplementary agreement” to the Iran deal as a way to fix it, but has no intention of renegotiating the existing pact.

A supplementary agreement that’s actually part of the deal is unlikely. Iran has ruled out additions, and neither Russia nor China has been interested in changes. The question at this point is if a sideline agreement between the US, Britain, France, and Germany would be enough to keep Trump from pulling out of the deal.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.