European leaders say they will try to save the Iran nuclear deal. Is this realistic?Jump to full report >>
On 8 May 2018 President Donald Trump announced the end of US support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal with Iran, meaning that US sanctions would at various points be re-imposed and US sanctions waivers, protecting third country companies and individuals trading with Iran from being targeted by US sanctions.
Iran as benefited from the deal, with some $100 billion in frozen Iranian assets being released to Iranian control. But the wider economic benefits of access to international markets have been disappointing to Iranians who hoped for a stronger uplift. Iranian foreign policy has not been moderated, dashing the hopes of backers of the deal. Indeed, Iran’s regional policies have become more aggressive, if anything.
European countries led early negotiations and backed the deal strongly from the start. With Donald Trump in the White House they knew that the future of the deal was uncertain and tried to address some of the concerns about the deal. After 8 May’s announcement, they presented a united front in defending the deal and expressing hopes that it could be saved.
There are several possible moves that the EU could take to try to defend the deal.