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European Union leaders back Iran deal at Zarif summit

European Union leaders back Iran deal at Zarif summit

Britain, France, Germany and the European Union made a joint call to the United States to protect the Iran nuclear pact, saying Tehran had a right to benefit from the lifting of sanctions tied to it.

With Tehran and US allies in Europe stepping up pressure to preserve the 2015 Iranian nuclear accord, President Trump appears poised to back away from a threat to pull America out of the deal, opting instead for new, albeit more targeted, sanctions against Iranian officials and entities.

President Donald Trump to decide whether to reimpose oil sanctions lifted under the agreement, the EU's top diplomat Federica Mogherini convened the meeting with the European powers to show support for the nuclear deal in a message to Washington, diplomats and officials said.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the deal is "a crucial agreement that makes the world safer".

The EU and other world powers have repeatedly warned it would be a mistake to abandon the deal, thrashed out with Iran over 12 years by the US, Britain, France, China, Germany and Russian Federation.

The U.S. government has said that expansion of Iran's missile program is against the "spirit" of nuclear deal.

Officials have said the majority have since been released, with only the main "instigators" facing trial.

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"We know that it's absolutely necessary to have the signal that it's possible, by diplomatic approaches, to prevent the development of nuclear weapons in a time where other parts of the world are discussing how to get nuclear weapons", he told reporters in Brussels.

According to two U.S. 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".

While the president remains sharply critical of the deal - even moving to "decertify" it under USA law in October - administration sources say he's now leaning toward once again approving the broad-based waivers.

Mr. Trump faces a January 12 deadline to extend waivers of broad oil and energy sector sanctions that were critical in getting Iran's commitment to the Obama-era accord.

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

On the one hand, it would seem to be the height of foolishness to see whether Iran will follow through with its threat and to allow the opportunity for Iran to possess a nuclear weapon in the near future when it is now complying with the deal according to both Israeli and U.S. intelligence.

In October, he refused to certify Iran was complying with the deal but stopped short of withdrawing from it, instead passing the issue of reimposing the sanctions to Congress.