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Iran Urges Europe Not To Opt For New Sanctions

Abbas Araghchi (R), political deputy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, and the Secretary General of the European Union External Action Service (EEAS) Helga Schmid in Vienna. March 16, 2018

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi has responded to a report that three European countries are mulling new sanctions on Iran to pacify U.S. demands regarding a tough approach to Iran.

Reuters news agency reported on Friday that Britain, Germany and France have proposed a plan to Washington to institute new sanctions on Iran related to its ballistic missile program and its involvement in Syria.

IRNA quotes Araghchi as saying, “If in case some European countries are pursuing actions, such as new non-nuclear sanctions on Iran to appease the U.S. president, they are making a mistake in their calculations and they will see the direct impact on JCPOA and its viability”.

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA is the nuclear agreement Iran reached with world powers in 2015. U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the deal as too weak and has demanded the agreement to be strengthened; otherwise he might effectively abandon it.

Araghchi has also urged Europeans to continue to persuade the U.S. to “honor its commitments under the agreement” and continue its implementation with “good will in a constructive atmosphere”. He added that without the full commitment of the U.S. and all parties, it is not possible to imagine the survival of the agreement.

Reuters reports it has seen a document by the three European countries, which says, "We circulating in the coming days a list of persons and entities that we believe should be targeted in view of their publicly demonstrated roles," 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.

According to Reuters, 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 Reuters report coincided with a meeting in Vienna on March 16 between Araghchi and European European representatives on the implementation of the nuclear deal.