Britain, France, and Germany have proposed new European Union sanctions against Iran related to its ballistic-missile program and its role in the Syrian conflict, according to a document seen by the Reuters news agency.
Reuters on March 16 reported the move would be aimed at satisfying demands made by U.S. President Donald Trump and keeping him “committed” to the 2015 nuclear pact that Tehran signed with world powers and from which Trump has threatened to withdraw.
Reuters, citing two people familiar with the matter, said the document was sent to EU capitals on March 16 to measure the level of support for fresh sanctions.
According to EU rules, all 28 members must agree to any such sanctions.
"We will...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 document said, specifically citing Iran’s ballistic-missile tests and its role in supporting Syria's government in the seven-year-old civil war against Western-backed rebels.
The document added that Britain, France, and Germany were involved 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 document suggested the measures would "target militias and commanders" and build on the bloc’s existing sanctions related to Syria, which include travel bans, asset freezes, and a ban on conductingbusiness with public or private companies.
Trump has taken a hard line on Iran throughout his term as president.
He has threatened to withdraw the United States from the nuclear agreement unless European allies and the U.S. Congress agree by May 12 to fix what he called "disastrous flaws" in the deal and impose tough new restrictions aimed at curbing Iran's ballistic-missile development and its intervention in regional conflicts.
Trump asserts that Tehran has violated the “spirit” of the nuclear deal and that it is using its ballistic-missile program to get around its restraints and continue development of nuclear weapons.
Trump wants to extend the duration of the nuclear curbs on Iran, increase international inspections on its nuclear program, and include restrictions on ballistic missiles.
Iran insists its nuclear program is designed strictly for civilian energy purposes and denies that it is interfering in the affairs of countries in the region.
Concerns about the future of U.S. participation in the nuclear deal were raised again this week after Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was seen as being in favor of remaining in the pact.
Trump’s nominee to replace him, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, is a strong critic of Iran and the nuclear deal.