Iran accuses Europe of yielding to ‘high school bully’ Trump in nuclear row

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Paris (Reuters) – Iran said on Thursday three European states had succumbed to “high school bully” Donald Trump when they triggered a dispute mechanism in a nuclear pact the U.S. president opposes, a step that could eventually lead to reimposing U.N. sanctions.

The pact, known as the JCPoA, was agreed in 2015 between Tehran and world powers, offering Iran sanctions relief if it curbed its nuclear work. Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed U.S. sanctions, saying he wanted a tougher deal.

Iran has responded by scaling back its compliance with terms of the pact, saying this month it rejected all limits on uranium enrichment, although it says it wants to keep the deal in place.

Britain, France and Germany triggered the accord’s dispute mechanism this week. London said it was now time for a “Trump deal” to replace it, while Paris said broad talks were needed.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Washington had threatened to impose a 25% tariff on European automobile imports if the three European capitals did not formally accuse Iran of breaking the nuclear agreement.

“Appeasement confirmed. E3 sold out remnants of #JCPOA to avoid new Trump tariffs. It won’t work my friends. You only whet his appetite. Remember your high school bully?” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter.

Two European diplomats confirmed Washington had threatened tariffs but said leaders of the three European states had already decided to trigger the mechanism before that.

Another diplomat said a suggestion that the Europeans were acting in response to Trump’s threat risked “discrediting the Europeans, but then Trump doesn’t really care about that”.

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