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France suggests Europe will reimpose sanctions if Iran reneges on deal

[L to R] Germany's Frank Walter Steinmeier, US' John Kerry, UK's Philip Hammond, France's Laurent Fabius and the EU's Federica Mogherini seen during a meeting of Foreign Ministers from the P5+1 countries with Iranian representatives during the nuclear deal negotiations in Switzerland on March 2015 [Anadolu Agency]
[L to R] Germany's Frank Walter Steinmeier, US' John Kerry, UK's Philip Hammond, France's Laurent Fabius and the EU's Federica Mogherini seen during a meeting of Foreign Ministers from the P5+1 countries with Iranian representatives during the nuclear deal negotiations in Switzerland on March 2015 [Anadolu Agency]

European countries will reimpose sanctions on Iran if it reneges on commitments under its nuclear deal, a source at the French presidency said on Tuesday, after Tehran said it would scale back its compliance a year after Washington pulled out, reports Reuters.

Iran dismissed a US announcement of the deployment of an aircraft carrier to the Middle East as old news, recycled for psychological warfare, and said it would soon announce plans to roll back some of its commitments under the 2015 deal.

Tensions have risen on the eve of the anniversary of President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, under which Iran agreed to curbs on its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

READ: Dispute flares among US officials over Trump administration Iran arms control report

Cartoon of President Trump ripping Iran's Nuclear deal [Twitter]

Cartoon of President Trump ripping Iran’s Nuclear deal [Twitter]

The Trump administration has restored US sanctions and extended them, effectively ordering countries around the world to stop buying Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.

Iran has continued complying with the deal. Washington’s European allies, which oppose the US pull-out, have tried and failed to come up with ways to blunt the economic impact of the US move while urging Iran to continue to comply.

Iranian media reported that Tehran will write to the countries still signed up to the deal – US allies Britain, France and Germany as well as Russia and China – on Wednesday to give them details about plans to “diminish its commitments” under the deal.

Iranian state news reports have said Iran does not plan to pull out of the deal but will revive some nuclear activity that was halted under it.

READ: Iran using all resources to sell oil in ‘grey market’

The French presidential source said the European countries did not yet know precisely what steps Iran was now planning, but they would have to reimpose sanctions on Iran if those steps amount to reneging on the deal.

The source said:

We do not want Tehran to announce tomorrow actions that would violate the nuclear agreement, because in this case we Europeans would be obliged to reimpose sanctions as per the terms of the agreement.
We sent messages to Tehran to say that we were determined to implement the agreement, that we really wanted them to stay in this agreement even though we took into account the complexity of the situation and passed on the same messages to our American allies.

US officials have spoken in recent days of intelligence suggesting a military threat from Iran, although they have not given specific details.

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