Germany urges USA to separate Iran nuclear deal from other issues


European Union foreign ministers on Thursday said a key agreement curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions must be preserved as U.S. President Donald Trump weighs whether to pull out of the pact.

A day before USA president Donald Trump is expected to continue granting Iran a reprieve from sanctions over its nuclear program, while again signaling his displeasure with the worldwide nuclear deal that lifted the penalties, the EU-28 foreign ministers met their Irani counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Brussels.

"It is essential that all parties should continue to abide by the deal", French Foreign Minister Yves Le Drian added, calling on the respect it too.

Two senior administration official told Reuters on Wednesday that Trump's top advisers were recommending that he not re-impose sanctions on Iran that were lifted under the agreement between Iran, the United States and other world powers.

Trump had vowed to rip up the agreement during his election campaign and has repeatedly referred to it as "the worst deal ever", accusing Iran of violating the "spirit" of the pact.

"The deal is working, it is delivering on its main goal which means keeping the Iranian nuclear program in check and under close surveillance", Mogherini said.

"The Trump Administration is deeply concerned by reports that the Iranian regime has imprisoned thousands of Iranian citizens in the past week for engaging in peaceful protests", the White House said in a statement.

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According to two USA sources, Trump had not made a decision by Wednesday, while Johnson told the British parliament on Tuesday that London was urging "our friends in the White House not to throw it away". He added that the European parties are "fully aware that Iran's continued compliance (is) conditioned on full compliance by the USA". JCPOA is the official name for the deal.

Critics of the deal in Congress have also proposed amending legislation to ensure that USA sanctions would "snap back" automatically if Iran carried out certain actions.

It is unlikely that even Trump himself knows what he might do, and even the Europeans do not know what the United States president will do, Zarif said.

An investigation has been opened into the death in custody of a young Iranian in Tehran's infamous Evin prison, the country's judiciary said Tuesday, with Sadeghi linking the death to recent protests.

"I don't think anybody has so far produced a better a way of preventing the Iranians from going ahead with the acquisition of their military nuclear capability", he said.

While Mr. Trump already moved in October to "decertify" the accord, The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the president is expected to extend the sanctions waivers, citing progress in bilateral efforts in Congress to push through legislation governing Washington's participation in the deal.