Can Europe Save the Iran Deal?

Time for It to Consider a Plan B

Dark clouds are seen over Palais Coburg, the venue for nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria, July 9, 2015. Leonhard Foeger / Reuters

On January 12, the administration of Donald Trump bought the United States four additional months to decide whether it would remain in the nuclear deal with Iran. In reissuing the sanctions waivers, the White House held to the agreement’s terms, but used the opportunity to impose new sanctions and to threaten withdrawal from the accord if Congress and Europe failed to amend it by May 12. This approach has injected a high degree of uncertainty over whether the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will survive, meanwhile placing the burden of action on the deal’s other signatories, particularly Europe. There is no need, however, for Europe to give in to Trump’s ultimatum. This waiting period buys it time to encourage the United States to remain in the deal while readying itself for an alternate plan: keeping the accord alive regardless of how Washington acts.


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