Germany Pushing for New Iran Sanctions to Keep Trump from Nixing Nuke Deal

Germany is trying to lead Europe on Iran. German, EU flags in Square of the Republic in Berlin. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

United States President Donald Trump was clear earlier this month when he said that Europe needed to increase restrictions on the Iranian nuclear and missile programs or else the US would terminate their role in the Iran nuclear deal. And it appears Germany was listening, because Der Spiegel reported on Saturday that Berlin is promoting new sanctions on Iran’s missile program and destabilizing activities in the Middle East, according to diplomats. The report said Germany, the UK, and France would intend the new sanctions—which would be outside the context of the nuclear deal with Iran—to acknowledge Trump’s concerns about Iran and to convince Trump to keep America in the nuclear accord.

The German Foreign Office had already tweeted that they “take note” of Trump’s statement on the Iran nuclear deal and that they would “talk to our European partners about next steps. We remain committed to the continued full implementation of the agreement.”

The Germans aren’t the only ones lobbying Europe to take the step. After Trump’s ultimatum, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron on the topic. Netanyahu encouraged Macron that “Trump’s statement should be taken seriously and that those who wish to keep the deal should fix it,” according to a summary of that talk posted to Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Ofir Gendelman’s Twitter feed. Netanyahu also intended to discuss Iran with US Vice President Mike Pence during the American’s visit to Israel this week.

“We will discuss the efforts of the Trump administration to block Iran’s aggression and the Iranian nuclear program, and of course, advancing security and peace in the region,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office. “Whoever truly aspires to realize these goals knows that there is no substitute for US leadership.”

That leadership is coming from multiple Americans, not just Trump and his Vice President. Europe apparently also listened to a suggestion from US Representative to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who recommended in a statement from her office to address issues such as Iran’s support for terror and missile activity “outside of the nuclear deal.”

In the Der Spiegel article, the Europeans reportedly support the idea of separating out the nuclear deal—which suspended crippling sanctions on Iran over the nuclear program—from sanctions on other concerns with Iran, such as their expanding missile program.

Haley, in her comments on January 12, warned the UN that the Iran nuclear deal should not come at the expense of addressing other Iranian misdeeds. She said that if other nations were too afraid to upset Iran and risk the nuclear deal to confront the Islamic Republic on other threats, then “it will become even clearer that the nuclear deal is an impediment to peace.”

Netanyahu also listed out the various concerns regarding Iran during his conversation with the French President following Trump’s warning. Noted spokesman Gendelman’s Twitter feed, “PM Netanyahu also said to @EmmanuelMacron that countries of the free world must strongly condemn the Iranian regime for its 5 crimes: Working to acquire nukes, developing ballistic missiles, supporting terrorism, regional aggression & the cruel oppression of the Iranian people.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, January 21, 2018)

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