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In Defiance of US President, EU Vows to Save Iran Nuclear Deal

The European Union “will spare no efforts” in its attempt to salvage the 2015 multilateral nuclear accord, from which US President Donald Trump withdrew over 18 months ago. European capitals have vowed to uphold the accord, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), despite recent moves by the Iranians that defy stipulations in the agreement. In this respect, Tehran announced this week that it would no longer abide by any restrictions placed on its uranium enrichment. It was the latest in a series of escalating steps taken by the Islamic Republic, which over the past six months upped the quantity of its low-level enriched uranium stockpile; began producing the substance to a higher level of purity, thus shortening the breakout time necessary to manufacture a nuclear weapon; and restarted nuclear activities at its controversial underground Fordow facility. Nevertheless, the EU has been working to introduce a financial mechanism, known as INSTEX and which would circumvent US economic sanctions by allowing for continued non-dollar trade with Iran. The EU’s foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, this week invited Iran’s foreign minister to Brussels for talks on ways to save JCPOA, although no date has been set. For his part, President Trump on Wednesday described the accord as “foolish,” adding that “Iran’s hostilities substantially increased after… [it] was signed… and they were given $150 billion.… Then Iran went on a terror spree, funded by the money from the deal.”