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Activists participate in a protest in front of the White House October 12, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

As Critics Warn Trump Sanctions Could Spark 'New War in Middle East,' EU Vows to Uphold Iran Nuclear Deal

The National Iranian American Council denounced the U.S. president's move to impose new sanctions on Iran as "a dangerous gambit that pits the U.S. in opposition to the rest of the world."

Jake Johnson

With new economic sanctions against Iran by the Trump administration about to go into effect as part of its ongoing effort to undermine international diplomacy and "foment unrest" in the country—a campaign critics say heightens the risk of "a new war in the Middle East"—the European Union (EU) on Monday issued an unequivocal joint statement denouncing the sanctions and reaffirming its commitment to upholding the Iran nuclear accord, which U.S. President Donald Trump violated in May.

"Preserving the nuclear deal with Iran is a matter of respecting international agreements and a matter of international security."
—European Union

Calling the Iran deal—officially titled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—a "key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture," the EU declared, "Preserving the nuclear deal with Iran is a matter of respecting international agreements and a matter of international security."

"The JCPOA is working and delivering on its goal, namely to ensure that the Iranian program remains exclusively peaceful, as confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 11 consecutive reports," the joint statement reads. "The lifting of nuclear-related sanctions is an essential part of the deal—it aims at having a positive impact not only on trade and economic relations with Iran, but most importantly on the lives of the Iranian people."

In addition to its statement opposing the Trump administration's sanctions—which are just the first wave of penalties the U.S. is expected to unveil in the coming months—the EU announced that it will be enforcing a so-called Blocking Statute aimed at nullifying the effects of Trump's sanctions on European countries engaged in "legitimate business" with Iran.

"Considering the dramatic consequences for U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, the Trump administration should not be given free reign to plunge the United States into a confrontation with its closest allies and partners."
—National Iranian American Council

In a memo outlining the implications of Trump's unilateral sanctions, which are set to officially go into effect at midnight on Monday, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) on Monday said the move to reimpose trade penalties on Iran is "a dangerous gambit that pits the U.S. in opposition to the rest of the world—including the U.S.'s closest partners and allies—and risks re-invigorating nuclear proliferation efforts in Iran."

Iranian officials have repeatedly stated that they have no intention of pursuing nukes, even if Europe and Iran's efforts to uphold the nuclear accord fail.

"Considering the dramatic consequences for U.S. national security and foreign policy interests," NIAC concluded, "the Trump administration should not be given free reign to plunge the United States into a confrontation with its closest allies and partners. In this case, Congress should assert its own prerogatives in the realm of foreign policy and resume U.S. compliance with the JCPOA, including, but not limited to, the continued lifting of U.S. sanctions as obligated under the nuclear accord."


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