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Trump's Iran Decision Leaves EU Leaders In Limbo

Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran deal leaves the EU scrambling to pick up the pieces.
Posted at 2:48 PM, May 08, 2018

The international community pulled out all the stops to encourage President Donald Trump to stick with the Iran nuclear deal. But Trump's decision to leave the agreement anyway leaves the world scrambling to figure out what comes next.

Five other countries originally joined with the U.S. to negotiate the deal limiting Iran's nuclear plan. The U.S. leaving doesn't necessarily blow up the pact, but it's tough to see how it survives.

Iran exported over $6.5 billion worth of fuel to the European Union in 2016 and received over $23 billion in investment from the EU. But renewed U.S. sanctions could put those financial ties in jeopardy.

Before Trump announced his decision, EU leaders tried to persuade the U.S. not to exit by offering to change the agreement. Now the EU has to figure out what, if anything, can be salvaged from the deal.

But Iran had a "grin and bear it" attitude about the prospects for the agreement. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently said if his country's interests were still ensured, it could stick to its promises without the U.S.

If the deal does fall apart, Iran will have strong domestic support to ramp its nuclear program back up.

The deal's other signatories, Russia and China, have urged the U.S. not to leave; their ties to Iran aren't likely to be hit heavily by U.S. sanctions. Russian officials have even speculated that cooperation with Iran could increase after the U.S. withdraws.