Britain, France and Germany are weighing fresh EU sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missiles and its role in Syria’s war in a bid to persuade Washington not to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal, Reuters reported on Friday, citing a confidential document it saw.
The joint paper was sent to European Union capitals on Friday, said two people familiar with the matter, to sound out support for such sanctions as they would need the support of all 28 EU member governments.
The proposal is part of an EU strategy to save the accord signed by world powers that curbs Tehran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons, namely by showing U.S. President Donald Trump that there are other ways to counter Iranian power abroad.
Trump recently decided to extend a waiver on nuclear sanctions that were imposed on Iran but made clear it would be the last time he will do so and ordered European allies and Congress to work with him to fix “the disastrous flaws” in the 2015 deal or Washington would withdraw.
The president is considered about the deal’s “sunset clauses” as well as about Iran’s ballistic missile program.
The Islamic Republic has several times test-fired ballistic missiles in recent months, raising the ire of the West.
Western countries say the tests are a violation of the UN resolution enshrining the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran denies it is in violation of any UN resolutions and categorically rules out any negotiations on its missile program.
The ultimatum delivered by Trump to the European signatories expires on May 12.
“We will therefore be circulating in the coming days a list of persons and entities that we believe should be targeted in view of their publicly demonstrated roles,” the European document said, referring to Iranian ballistic missile tests and Tehran’s role backing Syria’s government in the seven-year-old civil war.
The steps would go beyond what a U.S. State Department cable obtained by Reuters last month outlined as a path to satisfy Trump: simply committing to improving the nuclear deal.
It also reflects frustration with Tehran. “We’re getting irritated. We’ve been talking to them for 18 months and have had no progress on these issues,” a diplomat said.
European Union foreign ministers will discuss the proposal at a closed-door meeting on Monday in Brussels, diplomats told Reuters.
The document said Britain, France and Germany 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”.
The proposal follows weeks of talks between the State Department and European powers as they try to mollify the Trump administration, which is split between those who want to tear up the agreement and those who wish to preserve it.
A U.S. official cited “very good” talks with London, Paris and Berlin this week in Vienna on the issue.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)