Iran leaders shift focus to defending nuclear deal

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At a news conference after meeting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday, representatives of the European Union, the UK, France and Germany reiterated their support for the nuclear deal they helped negotiate.

The deal is "a crucial agreement that makes the world safer", British foreign secretary Boris Johnson said on Thursday (AP).

He further said that Paris is determined to implement the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers- US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany.

Her comments came after Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran Andrew Peek - a key Trump administration appointee at Foggy Bottom - told Voice of America that USA officials are "examining actions we can take against those individuals, like sanctions and other means". The meeting will reportedly cover the JCPOA implementation as well.

Kamalvandi said possible measures also include decreasing the Islamic Republic's cooperation with the United Nations nuclear agency - a possibility also mentioned earlier this week by Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi. As he refused to decertify the deal, asking Congress to revise legislation making it easier to reimpose sanctions at short notice, he accused Tehran of breaking the deal, especially over giving worldwide inspectors access to nuclear sites.

Donald Trump's view of the Iran pact is the opposite to that of European ministers who've been meeting with their Iranian counterpart and the EU's top diplomat in Brussels. Trump openly supported those protesters on Twitter.

The nuclear deal helped get us here, in a bad way.

President Trump must certify that Iran is complying with the deal by that deadline to keep it viable. If the president goes down this path, the USA will once again target Asian and European companies trading and investing in Iran.

However he said a 2015 deal to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb must be preserved.

Nader of the Rand Corp. said the latter argument appears to have been validated, to a degree: Non-nuclear sanctions that Obama kept in place and Trump has reinforced have afflicted Iran's economy, helping to spur the uprising.

Instead of killing the nuclear deal right away, Trump was convinced to pursue a two-step process: he would call on Congress to pass new legislation that would "fix" the deal by unilaterally changing some of its key terms, particularly the expiration of some of the restrictions imposed on Iran's nuclear programme.

"The European Union has expressed a very clear position on the nuclear deal as it was stated by the 28 European Union members states minister already in October a year ago and repeated again today: the deal is working", Mogherini told a press conference. "It is under continuous review and our participation can be cancelled by me as president at any time", Mr. Trump said.

U.S. officials expect Trump to grudgingly sign the sanction waivers once again before they start to expire this weekend - though he is also likely to impose new sanctions on Tehran over non-nuclear issues. Iran is playing a destabilizing role in the region that has intensified since the 2015 nuclear agreement.