European governments may have found a way to save -- or at least sustain -- the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that President Donald Trump has threatened to scuttle. With Trump vowing to back out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action by May if progress isn’t made in toughening some of its terms, officials from France, Germany and the U.K. -- working with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson -- are focusing on how to restrain Iran’s development of ballistic missiles.
The U.S. and three European countries will begin formal talks as early as next week on what the Trump administration considers flaws in the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said they might not meet a White House deadline for a fix.
Vice President Mike Pence reiterated to Israeli leaders on Tuesday that the Trump administration plans to pull out of the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal unless the pact is amended.
IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday that he sees progress in getting European support for tough new penalties against Iran that could prevent a U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
France’s foreign minister is expressing annoyance that the Trump administration is pressuring European allies to redesign the Iranian nuclear deal to fit U.S. needs.
Last month when US President Donald Trump called for a renegotiation of the so-called Iran nuclear deal, Tehran, the European Union, Russia and China responded with a chorus of “No! No!” and dismissed Trump’s move as “totally unacceptable.” Trump, however, set the clock ticking by fixing a 120-day delay in which those involved in the “nuke deal” should come up with a clear agenda for renegotiation. With the clock ticking, the thunderous “no! no!” became a sotto voce “well, maybe!” Last week, EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn surprised everyone by announcing that the Commission, in consultation with Britain, France and Germany, is “closely studying President Trump’s statement and its consequences.”
A renowned Iranian lawyer raised concern on Monday over the fate of a woman she said was arrested for posing without a headscarf in Tehran in an image that went viral around the world.
Iran’s central bank has ceased issuing permits and licenses for new private banks or commercial lenders, after the collapse of several major institutions froze the savings of hundreds of thousands of depositors and helped fuel anti-government protests.
It has been nearly one month since the rise of popular protests in several parts of Iran, yet senior Iranian officials continue to accuse foreign parties of standing behind these demonstrations in the Iranian streets. The latest of these accusations was from Iranian Judiciary Chief Sadegh Larijani, who did not address the internal reasons behind the protests and said that the United States has invested millions of dollars in order to provoke "unrest and destabilization as it seeks to overthrow the regime."
Norway’s ambassador to Tehran stressed his country’s resolve to preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and called for further development of trade ties between the two sides.
Iranian military leaders claimed Monday that they threatened two American-led vessels in international waters amid a series of new war drills being carried out by the Islamic Republic, according to regional reports and U.S. military officials who confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon contact with the Iranian vessels.
The U.S. Navy says it only received a radio message from Iranian naval vessels about an ongoing Iranian exercise in the Strait of Hormuz, countering Tehran claims of a tense encounter between the two fleets.
SYRIA & IRAN
Syrian troops have retaken the strategic Abu al-Duhur military airport, located deep within the country's final major pocket of rebel territory that was recently split in two by the pro-government offensive. After declaring victory over the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) late last year, the Syrian military, backed by Russian warplanes and Iran-backed, Shiite Muslim militias, launched a rapid push into the northwestern province of Idlib, the final bastion of support for rebels that have tried to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since 2011.
IRANIAN DOMESTIC ISSUES
Iran’s central bank chief on Monday warned investors speculating on the fall of the rial that they were heading for losses because his bank could control the foreign exchange market and the currency was likely to rebound in the next couple of months.