Signatories Agree to Maintain Iran Nuclear Deal amid Trump Threats

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He urged European nations to convince the USA not to leave, according to the Iranian Students' News Agency. This is an European Union effort to deter the U.S. from exiting the nuclear deal with Iran.

Washington opposes the expiry over time of restrictions on Iran's nuclear enrichment program - stipulated in one of the deal's sunset clauses - and wants the U.N.to get greater powers to inspect Iran's military sites, too.

Under the JCPOA, Iran halted some of its peaceful nuclear activities in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related worldwide sanctions.

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"Now he has a secretary of state who 100% shares his views on the nature and gravity of the Iranian threat and the fatal flaws of the JCPOA", Dubowitz said in an interview, using the initialism for the deal's official name. Doing so would buy US negotiators time to deal with elements of the agreement Trump has disparaged - such as its expiration dates on key nuclear constraints - and missile and terrorism concerns. Iran maintains that it must have medium-range missiles to defend itself, an argument the Europeans have been sympathetic to.

Tillerson's firing and the choice of anti-Iran hard-liner Mike Pompeo to replace him have fueled speculation that Washington will pull out - a move that likely would kill the deal.

Senior officials from the countries which signed the deal held a quarterly meeting in Vienna on Friday. But each time Trump faced another sanctions deadline, Tillerson met increased resistance to keeping the agreement alive.

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United States withdrawal from the nuclear deal would nearly certainly lead to greater regional instability and could trigger retaliation by Iran or its proxies in the Middle East. United States allies in the region, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, could also be affected and any Iranian response might include cyber operations. It could also cause countries that weren't party to the deal to increase their sanctions on Iran. Iran has attracted just $25 billion in investment since the agreement was signed, significantly below expectations for an economy of its size. It said they must agree to "fix the awful flaws of the Iran nuclear deal" - which was sealed under President Barack Obama - or he would refuse to extend USA sanctions relief on Iran. "It may well be the first casualty of Tillerson's ousting will be the end of the Iran deal". He had urged the president to stay in the agreement to keep leverage over Iran's ballistic missile testing and other actions not covered under the agreement.

Any U.S. withdrawal would likely crater the agreement.

It is not clear if the nuclear deal will survive if the USA withdraws from the pact. President Rouhani, a moderate whose administration negotiated the nuclear deal, has seen his popularity damaged by the fall in support for the deal, and its collapse could undermine his efforts to promote economic and political reforms that could improve the domestic business climate in the wake of the demonstrations.

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Such discussions between the US and Iran have occurred occasionally on the margins of regularly scheduled Iran deal talks. Nevertheless, unless there is a recovery in the country's economic and investment prospects, Iran's commitment to the deal could gradually erode following a United States withdrawal, resulting in its eventual collapse.

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