As the presidents of the United States and France met and discussed the nuclear deal with Iran, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany were developing a plan that would keep the controversial deal in place without meeting the demands of President Donald Trump to fix the deal’s flaws, Reuters reported Wednesday.
The chief U.S. negotiator with the Europeans, Brian Hook, told National Public Radio that while the parties had made some progress on reconciling their positions, “we’re not there yet.”
Diplomats told Reuters that after three months of negotiations with the United States, they had put together a number of policies that the Europeans hoped would satisfy Trump, but not affect the deal with Iran.
“This is about convincing President Trump, it’s not a new deal with Iran,” one senior European Union diplomat told Reuters.
As the American and European negotiators worked on a deal, Trump hosted French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House on Tuesday. During a joint press conference, Iran was one of the key topics both leaders discussed.
In his remarks, Trump reiterated his commitment to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons as well as countering its aggression throughout the Middle East, “France and the United States also agree that Iran cannot be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon, and that regime must end its support for terrorism all over. No matter where you go in the Middle East, you see the fingerprints of Iran behind problems.”
Macron responded by addressing Trump, “I can say that we’ve had very a frank discussion on that, just the two of us. You consider that the Iranian deal, the JCPOA — the one negotiated in 2015 with Iran — is a bad deal. For a number of months, I’ve been saying that this was not a sufficient deal, but that it enabled us, at least until 2025, to have some control over their nuclear activities.”
Macron indicated that further measures were necessary to prevent Iran from ever obtaining nuclear weapons, even past 2025; that Iran end its “ballistic activities; and a “political solution” to end Iran’s destabilization in the Middle East.
As of now, the Europeans are not agreeing to the fixes to the deal that Trump is demanding. Trump has insisted that the sunset clauses are ended and restrictions on Iran’s uranium enrichment are left in place, that Iran is prevented from ballistic missile development, and that the weak inspections regime is strengthened.
However, the Free Beacon reported that United States negotiators are prepared to accept a European fix that would leave Israel, America’s Arab allies, and U.S. military based vulnerable to Iranian ballistic missiles. According to the report, American negotiators have accepted a European proposal that would restrict Iran from developing longer range ballistic missiles, but would not touch its substantial arsenal with ranges up to 1,240 miles, a range that could reach Israel.
“We know that the mullah regime already has the capability to strike targets up to 1,240 miles from Iran’s borders—a range sufficient to hit the State of Israel, our Arab allies across the region, every U.S. military installation and American soldier in the region, and even parts of Europe,” Josh Block, CEO of The Israel Project and a former Clinton administration official, said.
He added, “Iran’s new ballistic missile cap offer is a total sham—one cooked-up by Iran’s allies in Russia, who are already supporting Tehran and Assad’s violent war to dominate the Middle East—designed to fool President Trump, with the support of greedy Europeans who care more about making money.”
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