Europeans Make Last Effort to Save Iran Deal, But Start Working on ‘Plan B’

Diplomats hope to limit damage of US killing the nuclear deal

There is one week left until President Trump’s May 12 ultimatum threatening to withdraw from the P5+1 nuclear deal. The three European powers, Britain, France, and Germany, are scrambling to put together one last proposal to try to placate Trump and avoid this.

President Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Officials familiar with this effort say they don’t have a lot of hope they can offer anything to convince Trump. This has many diplomats working on planning for the day after the US blows up the deal, and trying to limit the damage.

The P5+1 deal limits Iran’s civilian program, and requires giving IAEA inspectors a level of access unprecedented in any other safeguards agreement. In collapsing the deal, the US would effectively end these restrictions.

While some officials say Trump and the European nations are closer to a deal, one demand seems insurmountable. President Trump is demanding the civilian limitations become permanent, something the Europeans cannot offer in a side deal, and which neither Iran nor the other parties are interested in trying to negotiate.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of