Last Updated: 2018-01-12
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BRUSSELS, Jan 12 (NNN-AGENCIES) -- Britain, France and Germany made a joint plea to Pres Donald Trump on Thursday to uphold a pact stopping Iran getting nuclear weapons, a day before the U.S. president is expected to decide whether to re-impose sanctions in a move likely to sink the deal.

In sharp contrast to Trump’s view that the 2015 pact was “the worst deal ever negotiated”, the foreign ministers of the three countries and the EU’s top diplomat said there was no alternative to it and that sanctions should remain lifted.

“We agree on this approach, we want to protect (the deal) against every possible decision that might undermine it,” Germany’s Sigmar Gabriel said alongside his French and British counterparts and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini after meeting Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“It is absolutely necessary to have this to prevent the development of nuclear weapons at a time when other parts of the world are discussing how to get them,” Gabriel said.

The meeting in Brussels was choreographed to send a message to Washington before Trump is due to decide whether to re-impose oil sanctions lifted under the deal. If that happens, Iran has said it would no longer be bound by the pact and could return to producing enriched uranium.

Zarif tweeted that the meeting had shown a “strong consensus” that Iran was complying with the pact, had the right to enjoy its economic benefits and “any move that undermines (it) is unacceptable”.

“E3 (Germany, France and Britain) and EU fully aware that Iran’s continued compliance (is) conditioned on full compliance by the US,” Zarif added.

European countries have benefited from renewed trade with Iran as sanctions have been lifted, while U.S. companies are still largely barred from doing business with the Islamic Republic due to other sanctions unrelated to the nuclear issue.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has said he expects Trump to impose new sanctions on Iran.

The news comes as Trump faces a Friday deadline to decide whether to waive other major sanctions on Iran lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal.

Mnuchin told reporters he was expecting new sanctions on Iran to be announced - which previous reports have suggested could be targeted measures against Iranian individuals and businesses.

"We continue to look at them. We've rolled them out and I think you can expect there will be more sanctions coming."

The US president says he wants to amend the deal - or withdraw from it completely.

In October, he refused to recertify for Congress that Iran was complying with the deal, accusing it of "not living up to the spirit" of the agreement. -- NNN-AGENCIES