Satellite image shows a nuclear facility in Iran.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – European Union officials met in Brussels on Wednesday to consider new sanctions against Iran over its ballistic-missile program.
If adopted, the EU-wide measures would target specific individuals and entities involved in the development of the country’s ballistic weapons, as well as their support for the government of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Britain, France and Germany proposed the new sanctions earlier this month in an effort to assuage US President Donald Trump, who is demanding actions against Iran that, in his view, close loopholes in the 2015 agreement governing its nuclear work.
But the EU offer thus far falls short of Trump’s standards for success, laid out in January. At that time, the president called for US-EU sanctions that would demand swifter and broader access for UN nuclear inspectors to Tehran’s military sites and an extension of limits on its uranium-enrichment program, in addition to the ballistic-missile actions.
Those first two demands would touch on the nuclear deal itself, and EU governments are still opposed to that.
European powers urge Trump to preserve Iran nuclear deal (REUTERS)
Trump has given London, Paris and Berlin until May 12 to offer concrete “fixes” to the accord. He will otherwise allow US sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program to “snap back” into place, effectively withdrawing Washington from the accord.
Officials from Sweden and Ireland, as well as from Iran’s closest European allies, Italy and Greece, have expressed skepticism over the EU sanctions proposal.
But European diplomats said they would like to push the sanctions through by mid-April, before Trump makes his decision on whether to leave the nuclear accord.
Critics of the nuclear deal believe it should have addressed the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missiles.
They point to North Korea
’s nuclear-weapons program, only now a direct threat to the US homeland because of its increasingly sophisticated delivery capacity.
Iran says its missile program is defensive in nature.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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