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US, Europe huddle on Iran after Trump ultimatum

The United States and major European powers are holding working group consultations to explore cooperation on Iran, but the Europeans say they will not renegotiate the nuclear deal.
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: U.S. President Donald Trump makes a statement on the administration's strategy for dealing with Iran, in the Diplomatic Reception Room in the White House, October 13, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump stated that the Iran nuclear deal is not in the best interests for the security of the United States, but stopped short of withdrawing from the 2015 agreement. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON — In the wake of US President Donald Trump's warning this month that he would not waive US sanctions on Iran again unless the nuclear deal was fixed, diplomats from the United States and key European powers are holding working group consultations on Iran, possibly in London later this week, to see what they can come up with. Officials and experts say the Europeans are willing to explore cooperation with the United States to try to address shared concerns about Iran, such as its ballistic missile program and alleged arms shipments to Yemen’s Houthi rebels, but continue to resist Trump’s demands to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear accord, which they believe is working.

While some experts say that the Europeans have nothing to lose by trying to see if there are positions and actions that would keep the United States on board the agreement, others are urging Europe to instead take steps to insulate its companies from the threat of US secondary sanctions. (The next waiver deadline for US nuclear-related Iran sanctions is May 12.) Looming over everything is concern that an erratic and unpredictable Trump may not be satisfied no matter what fixes Congress and the Europeans are able to come up with.

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