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Can a Divided European Union Keep Iran Deal Alive?

United Nations: The European Union will provide a special payment channel to all the European companies that want to continue financial transactions with Iran, in order to keep supporting the positive effects of the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

At the United Nations, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif made the announcement jointly on Monday evening. During a press conference, they explained that this tool "will help oil in trade, banking, and exports."

Although divisions and splits about immigration are putting at risk its future stability, EU firmly intervened in defense of the nuclear deal, after the President Trump's decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal last May, and the recent sanctions imposed on Iran by the US Administration.

Thanks to this new agreement between EU and Iran, European and other companies and Iran to conduct financial transactions & circumvent US sanctions. "Iran has remained committed to its obligations under the nuclear deal," Ms. Mogherini said, giving the reason why this plan will "reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business with Iran."

This agreement comes in contentious days between the President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and US President Donald Trump, in New York. Trump, as he had already done last year with the so-called Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, has spoken about Rouhani in two opposite ways. On Tuesday morning, Trump first called Mr. Rouhani a "lovely man" on Twitter. Then, during his speech at the UN General Assembly, he clashed "the corrupt dictatorship in Iran".

In his remarks, Trump also said "Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death, and destruction. They do not respect their neighbors or borders, or the sovereign rights of nations." Later, he defined Iran deal "a windfall for Iran’s leaders". "In the years since the deal was reached, Iran’s military budget grew nearly 40 percent," he said.

But President Rouhani, Monday evening, in an interview on NBC called US threat to shut down Iranian oil exports an "empty promise." Then, Tuesday morning in an interview on CNN, he responded to Trump who has called him a "lovely man", saying that "instead of talking he [Mr. Trump] should show genuine honesty & seriousness."

In this twisted context, the European Union are likely to be united on Iran deal. And the new agreement announced by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif could represent a key factor to keep the deal itself alive. "​​The JCPOA participants reconfirmed their commitment to its full and effective implementation in good faith and in a constructive atmosphere,” Mogherini and Zarif said in a joint statement.

If it's not clear if the European companies will use the new special payment channel keeping investing on the Iran market, the joint announcement of EU and Iran can be considered as a loss for the US diplomacy.

And the French President Emmanuel Macron, during his remarks at the General Assembly on Tuesday morning, confirmed the European position. He rebuked Donald Trump saying that "No one alone can tackle problems." Then, he urged "dialogue and multilateralism on Iran."

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