Washington has sketched out a path under which three key European allies would have to only commit to try to improve the Iran nuclear deal over time and in return, U.S. President Donald Trump would keep the agreement alive and would renew U.S. sanctions relief in May, Reuters reports, citing a State Department cable.
According to the news agency, the approach faces obstacles. Two European officials and two former U.S. officials think that the European allies are not sure what would satisfy Trump and are reluctant to make a commitment only to find that he asks them for more.
The newest demands represent a lower standard that was laid out by Trump in January and according to five current European and four former U.S. officials, might facilitate a meeting of the minds.
“We are asking for your commitment that we should work together to seek a supplemental or follow-on agreement that addresses Iran’s development or testing long-range missiles, ensures strong IAEA inspections, and fixes the flaws of the ‘sunset clause,'” said the State Department cable.
The agreement signed in 2015 foresees that Iran would restrict its nuclear program in return for relief from sanctions that have crippled its economy, but Trump thinks that the deal has three defects. The first defect is the failure to address Iran’s ballistic missile program, the second are the terms under which international inspectors can visit suspected Iranian nuclear sites and the third defect are the sunset clauses under which limits on the Iranian nuclear program start to expire after ten years.
Last month, Trump said that European powers must agree to fix the flaws of the deal or he would refuse to extend the U.S. sanctions relief on Iran that it calls for. U.S. sanctions will resume unless Trump issues fresh waivers to suspend them on May 12, Reuters reminds.
The State Department’s diplomatic cable was sent to U.S. diplomats in London, Paris, Berlin and Brussels. European officials said that they did not know if the view laid out in the cable will prevail in Washington. They added that all that counts is Trump’s judgment on whether to renew U.S. sanctions waivers that expire in May. Reaching a full-blown international accord by the May 12 deadline is seen as an impossibility by some U.S. and European officials even if there was agreement on the underlying issues, which there is not, according to Reuters.