Europe could work to keep nuclear deal alive without US

President Donald Trump prays during a cabinet meeting at the White House Wednesday Dec. 20 2017 in Washington. From left Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Trump and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis

President Donald Trump prays during a cabinet meeting at the White House Wednesday Dec. 20 2017 in Washington. From left Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Trump and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis

The future of the Iran deal was already in serious doubt after Trump issued an ultimatum in January, warning he would pull the United States out of the accord unless European allies or Congress managed to "fix the deal's disastrous flaws".

Elsewhere in his statement, Mr. Trump echoed the official United States policy: while maintaining Washington's stance on lifting parts of sanctions against Tehran, the U.S. keeps cautious in its policies dealing with Iran. "It's Trump's line", said another European diplomat. The US-E3 talks dominated Trump's conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House last week. If no consensus is reached by that date, Trump is expected to withdraw the USA from the deal.

Trump has said that he will allow for the reimposition of nuclear-related sanctions on Iran upon a mid-May waiver deadline unless Europe agrees to some form of renegotiation. Thus far, the United States has successfully tried to target the Iranian regime without violating the nuclear deal which President Trump has repeatedly criticized.

"President Trump has called on the Congress and our European allies to enact real and lasting restraints on Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions".

Iran, of course, doesn't have a nuclear weapons program, and didn't have such a program for years before the deal was made. In his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump railed against the agreement as the "worst deal ever", saying Iran had won relief from sanctions without having to give up enough in return. "However, my understanding is he doesn't want the deal to disappear", said a former senior USA official.

The move is the latest in a series of measures by Washington aimed at dealing with one of the greatest diplomatic hurdles before Donald Trump's administration, to contain the regime in Iran while keeping up to America's worldwide commitments within the JCPOA.

Other European officials and former USA officials said Pompeo's rise, if he is confirmed as secretary of state by the Senate, might have a more ambiguous effect on the negotiations and that, in any case, Trump's views are paramount.

So far, European powers have expressed a willingness to discuss all of Trump's concerns but adamantly believe, nonetheless, that the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, should remain in its current form. Under that scenario, the United States - and Israel - may decide to take military action to prevent Iran from obtaining the bomb or at least slow down a bid for nuclear-tipped missiles.

Army General Joseph Votel, commander of the U.S. Central Command, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 13, 2018.

His comments centered on the deal addressing USA and worldwide concerns about Iran having a nuclear weapons program.

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