European Union voices support for Iran nuclear deal as USA mulls withdrawal

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President Donald Trump must decide by Friday whether to continue to back the provisions of the nuclear deal, which effectively opened Iran to global commerce including a tentative deal with US aircraft maker Boeing.

The White House faces a January 12 deadline over waiving the sanctions.Other signatories to the deal, which include China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom, have urged caution.

The U.S. Congress requires the president to decide periodically whether to certify Iran's compliance with the deal and issue a waiver to allow U.S sanctions on Iran to remain suspended.

Zarif tweeted that the Brussels meeting had shown a "strong consensus" that Iran was complying with the pact, had the right to enjoy its economic benefits and "any move that undermines (it) is unacceptable".

"If the sanctions suspension are not extended, that would violate the nuclear deal and the Islamic Republic of Iran will take first retaliatory action immediately", the Iranian nuclear spokesman said.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker has been working on amending a US law to include "trigger points" that if crossed by Iran would automatically bring back USA sanctions.

The Associated Press cited unnamed administration officials saying lawmakers had made progress in amending U.S. legislation that governs Washington's participation in the landmark agreement, allowing Trump to extend relief from economic sanctions to Tehran. "We are not convinced that Europeans can support their own companies against the United States and encourage them to work with Iran in case the USA sanctions are back". In particular there is sympathy with the USA push to end the deal's "sunset clauses", which phase out restrictions on Iranian activities in the next decade.

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After the meeting, Zarif said Iran's promise to curb its nuclear program under the deal signed with six world powers was "conditioned on full compliance" from the US.

However, Johnson said it is "legitimate and right" to focus in parallel on what Iran should do to ease the crises in Yemen and Syria.

The White House is facing down a weekend deadline by which it must waive key economic sanctions on Iran in order to preserve the nuclear accord.

The Foreign Secretary challenged the USA president to name a "better solution" if he wanted to scrap the agreement while other European Union figures said ending the deal would defy logic.

"The deal is working, it is delivering on its main goal which means keeping the Iranian nuclear program in check and under close surveillance", Mogherini said after the meeting. Mr Straw detected a "pretty high degree of questioning about where Iran goes", he told the Guardian newspaper. On October 13, the U.S. president announced the United States administration's decision not to certify Iran's compliance with the JCPOA.

"President Trump claimed that "Bob Corker gave us the Iran deal" compromise", said one veteran foreign policy adviser involved in the discussions.

Five businesses tied to Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group (SBIG), which plays a key role in Iran's ballistic missile program, were sanctioned last week by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

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