France, Germany and U.K. Serve Notice on Iran Under Nuclear Deal

The European nations triggered a dispute mechanism in the 2015 pact, a first step toward reimposing United Nations sanctions.

Comments: 231

  1. I think the deal meant normalized relations with all those who negotiated it. When the US left the deal, Iran ceased having the full benefits negotiated. If the remaining countries want to stay in, what are they going to do to make up for that loss?

  2. Since European countries didn't/couldn't deliver their side of the bargain because of US secondary sanctions, I'm not sure this will have any effect. The nuclear agreement ceased the day President Trump announced US withdrawal. It will be interesting to see how Russia and China will react; both have veto power in the UN security council...

  3. “Britain, France and Germany triggered the dispute resolution mechanism in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, a tough warning to Tehran and the first step toward reimposing further United Nations sanctions on Iran.” There are 5 members of a contract. One member backs out. Is the contract still enforceable? I say no and Iran has every right to withdraw as well. I believe there has been ‘no meeting of the minds’ (in legal parlance) to enforce the contract. If only a subset of the original parties wishes to continue, then it’s only ‘goodwill.’ Does the United Nations have a Court by which to settle this?

  4. Clearly, the world will be more secure with an Iran permanently prevented from building nuclear weapons. The USA leads the way toward that goal, now bringing along Britain, France and Germany.

  5. @Dr. John, or better Britain, France and Germany try to save a situation that, again, was caused by American incompetence.

  6. The EU can't have it both ways, ie they want Iran to stay in accord with the treaty although the US is demanding harsher sanctions because they the US pulled out of the deal. It doesn't make any sense for Iran to stay in it. What is the EU and USA gonna do put sanctions on top of sanctions that are already there? Better for Iran to start making deals with Russia, China and other non USA, EU countries.

  7. When Russia invaded Crimea, sanctions were imposed by the US. When they attempted an assassination on a British citizen, more sanctions were imposed. Should Europe consider sanctions against the US for our withdrawal from the nuclear deal and our assassination of the Iranian general. Probably not practical -- but it is deserved.

  8. @Louis Friedman Russia did not invade Crimea. If you do not understand that Russia did not invade Crimea, every other conclusion you draw will be flawed. (Russians and Russian military units have been in Crimea since around 1750 and have never left except for a few years during WWII when the Ukrainian supporters of the left-wing German party of the 1930s invaded the Crimea for a short time. Crimea has been autonomous for just over 100 years as is -- separately -- Sevastapol, an area on the Crimean peninsula that is home of a separate 250-year-old Russian naval base. The Crimea is as Russian as Moscow.)

  9. I guess that I'm missing something here. The US withdrawals from the agreement the other signatories continue to remain in the JCPOA but they comply with the sanctions that were re-imposed by the US. Iran decides to withdrawal from their commitments under the deal and it's Iran's fault for the collapse of the agreement. Makes perfect sense.

  10. Saving the Iran Nuclear Deal is the right move towards a peaceful solution. The supposed deal-maker in the United States has placed the world on the brink of all-out war. The world does not need more conflict; it's time to give peace a chance.

  11. Uh huh. Obama gave peace a chance and Iran spent that peace arming militias around the region. Join the real world, please.

  12. @Dennis The Iran "deal" Obama inked guaranteed Iran gets a nuke in 10 years. How does that help anyone other than Ben Rhodes padding his resume while Obama is kicking up his heels at his beachside home on Martha's Vineyard? So what if they agreed not to advance current nuke technology. The agreement does allow them to work on their next gen tech. That's like telling Apple they can't work anymore on the Iphone 10, but no problems working on Iphone 12, 13 and 14. Serious deals with serious commitments that survive the test of time...require ratification by the US Senate. It's why the US Constitution exists.

  13. @Erica Smythe "Serious deals with serious commitments that survive the test of time...require ratification by the US Senate..." If you ever want to tell a funny joke, Erika, look no further!

  14. It is President Trump and the U.S. who scuttled the Iran Nuclear Deal, not Iran. The assessment by the International Atomic Energy Agency was that Iran was in compliance with the Deal and had allowed daily inspections of its nuclear facilities. The Iran Nuclear Deal prevented a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, and postponed Iran's development of a nuclear weapons for at least 15 years. After Trump's abrogation of the Deal, Iran may be capable of developing a nuclear weapon within one year. Iran has stated that it has no intention of building a nuclear bomb, though the U.S. is spending trillions of dollars to redesign our nuclear arsenal. Trump's reckless withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal is only one facet of this administration's disruption of international nuclear weapons accords that have successfully reduced the number of nuclear weapons by seventy percent since 1990. The unimaginable destructive power of nuclear weapons is far too great to leave in the hands of any one. The Iran Nuclear Deal needs to be re-affirmed, the NewSTART Treaty needs to be renewed and the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons must be ratified. Mark Muhich Sierra Club Nuclear Free Core Team Jackson MI

  15. So the U.S. backs out unilaterally, but Iran still needs to comply? What sort of messed up system is that?

  16. @Andres Hannah The "system" is the great game that nations play when covering up their true intent with astounding levels of hypocrisy. In act one the US repudiates a treaty it made with Iran claiming that as the treaty wasnt ratified by our do nothing congress, it could be voided at will. In act two the US castigates Iran for not living up to the terms of a treaty that the US voided by word and actions that included punishing our feckless "allies" who dare to stand by a treaty signed by them with legally enforcible expectations on what they will deliver to Iran as signitories. The "true intent" of the US is clear. Topple the government of Iran and thus come out on top of a fued that began in 1979 with the US being forcefully expelled from Iran. The "true intent" of the Europeans is as simple. Iran is a small economy while the US is a large economy. Cha Ching....$

  17. The only scenario where the world becomes safer is Iran does not own nuclear weapons. Bottom line on any tactic or treaty has to lead to Iran does not get nuclear weapons under any circumstances. Under what rationale does a nuclear armed Iran make anyones life better, including Iranians lives?

  18. @Mike Bishop And Iran now has the hebegeebees about a Trump strike on its nuclear development facilities. That is the backup hammer to negotiations. A hammer that did not seem to be a reality in the past. Trump has blundered into very leveraged situation with Iran. There seems to be only one way out for them.

  19. @Mike Bishop My thoughts exactly. Until Iran becomes a true trustworthy democracy, not democratic dictatorship, then there should be no deal where they are allowed to be nuclear armed.

  20. @Mike Bishop nation that have nuclear weapons are less likely to be attacked, eg N. Korea, Pakestan, India, Israel. Nations that lack nukes are likely to be destroyed, repeatedly humiliated or occupied by a nuke- owning power. Eg. the demeaned nations of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Libia, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan.

  21. Iran wants all the benefits of economic and political cooperation with the West, but with none of the responsibilities or obligations that come along with it. A renegotiation of the JCPOA must include a complete cessation of Iranian support to terrorist militia proxies as the indispensable prerequisite to further economic cooperation. Otherwise, the "nuclear deal" is not worth the paper it is printed on.

  22. @David H This was always the major flaw in the JCPOA. It did nothing to contain Iran's export of terrorism. In fact, Trump's killing Suleimani did more to address that problem. Yes, Iran will simply replace Suleimani, but it was Suleimani who was its terrorism's chief architect. He had already exported the Hezbollah model to other countries. He will not be easily replaced.

  23. American support of "militia proxies" is just fine? Is that okay?

  24. Advice to Iran. Stay in the the deal. Celebrate the deal! If you are in the deal you are aligned with the Europeans, Chinese, and Russians. You will have the good will of a broad array of other nations. You will contribute to the isolation of the US under its current non foreign policy insanity. It’s painful for now but think long term. Under Trump the US is living to lose on a daily basis. It is placing the need to win the daily news cycle above any other consideration. Most importantly, if you are in the deal the Europeans are going to like you more than the US and that could lead to achieving your short term goal of removing US troops from Iraq.

  25. The Europeans want the US and Tehran to join them in negotiating a new deal that includes missile development and Irans regional activities. The flaw in the previous Iran deal was its missile development and Iran's proxy wars throughout the region. Now the Europeans have added these to the list of negotiations to go forward. Trump has won. Iran has been displayed to be impotent, militarily and with control over its populous.

  26. @Mkm, "Iran has been displayed to be impotent, militarily and with control over its populous." Or maybe just not as reckless as the United States? Also, considering that JCOPA worked, and that the current mess is only because of Trump's incompetence, it's a bit much to call that a "win". But then, the one eyed is king amongst the blind.

  27. The Europeans want the US and Tehran to join them in negotiating a new deal that includes missile development and Irans regional activities. The flaw in the previous Iran deal was its missile development and Iran's proxy wars throughout the region. Now the Europeans have added these to the list of negotiations to go forward. Trump has won. Iran has been displayed to be impotent, militarily and with control over its populous.

  28. @Mkm 'Mission Accomplished' So all Trump has to do now is to step aboard an aircraft carrier wearing a rented combat jacket?

  29. Iran is slipping away into the abyss never to return as an rational nation. Diplomacy needs logic and equal benefits but Iran believes in a religious safety net that will be rejected by all other nations. They do not fathom contradictions apparent to everyone and are destined to moderate substantially or starve.

  30. Situations like this one demonstrate so clearly that having a "partner" whose credibility and word have zero weight undermines any constructive negotiation. And that's true even when the clueless partner is the "greatest deal maker in history."

  31. Good luck with that. They have nothing to offer in exchange. They have been incapable of establishing a mechanism to circumvent U.S. sanctions. And possibly neither Russo nor China will allow UN sanctions. They have veto power.

  32. Great, they are finally being forced to fall in line by Trump. Obama secured a bad deal because he never had the guts to take out an animal like Suleimani because he was scared of a counterattack. Especially after his Syria red line debacle. Well, Trump did and there was barely any repercussion because he has re-established deterrence. Finally we can get a decent deal. This is what we get with a leader with strength and strategy.

  33. You people Are obsessed with the red line and you can keep your doctor. vs trumps 15000 lies and counting.

  34. This article prompted a memory of reading Democrat candidate Steyer’s interview yesterday in the NYTimes. A bit circular, stay with me. He commented that China was a frenemy- half and half. A trading partner, yet not a democracy, not a friend/ally in the political, rights, sense. But we, abide. We acknowledge differences and survive. We and our adversaries, China, Russia, have lived with nuclear threats for decades now. Yet we trade, talk, argue, all demand our way is the best. Forget 60 days of negotiations. Just say to Iran, if you build that nuclear capability, we’ll help the Saudis do the same. Then you can live, as we do, under that MAD imperative. And coexist. One sided disarmament isn’t working. Won’t work. Iran and Saudi Arabia- make peace. Don’t resign another of your generations to war, killing, hatred. That’s what the EU nations need to say. In just one day.

  35. @Jo Williams Are the Saudis really our friends? I'd rather not see either the Saudis or Iran get a nuclear weapon.

  36. A very "progressive globalist" approach to nuclear proiferation...Sounds great for bunker salesmen!

  37. trump did his best to completely dismantle any checks or balances on Iran and is now letting them run amok with weapons development. Thankfully we have allies with some credibility left to pull Iran back from the brink.

  38. At the end of the day only Donald Trump stands alone and is the true leader. Get used to it. He will defend American interests avidly and rightly so.

  39. @Patrick Turner You do not see the irony in your statement? A "true leader" who "stands alone"? That's the antithesis of a leader. And that is the core of Trump's problem. He's not a leader, he's a ramshackle, bumbling cowboy who wants to shout orders, cheered on by a small collection of backers who can agree with his actions, because like him they can't empathize properly with other people, or care about anything that doesn't benefit them directly. If he were a leader, he'd have the support of other nations, and a majority of his own nation. He'd also understand that, unlike a six year old screaming that he wants more candy, cake, and presents, you can't bully and bluster your way into making all 7 billion people on the planet lick your boots. Everything Donald Trump is doing today comes with a price that will be paid eventually, whether you can anticipate or want to pay that price or not.

  40. @Patrick Turner A bully is never a 'true leader', and bullying as a foreign policy has only very short-term advantages. But apparently the cowboy theory of foreign relations still resonate in the USA. 'Get used to it' by the way sounds like a threat. Let's see if the next electoral college elects Trump. The people never did.

  41. And all this chaos worldwide is because of one ego-driven man who can’t control his impulses and needed a diversion from the news cycle that was focused on his wrongdoings. Oh, and let us also not forget the GOP sycophants who are hanging on and hiding behind the coattails of the emperor’s invisible suit thinking that will preserve their power. Osama bin Ladin and Putin both won, and we, because of our lack of civic involvement, have thrown our democracy and Lady Liberty into ruin. Let’s hope we can work our way back from the precipice and find redemption for our ethics, our morals and our ideals.

  42. @Mountain Dragonfly Sure, the chaos in the world is because of Trump. Who did you blame before? I think the chaos has been around a bit longer than 3 years.

  43. This action on the part of Germany, France and Britain is probably a whole lot worse than Iran losing Soleimani. True the US sanctions were the major problem, but this is going to be the last straw. Actually, the timing is great for those who want to force regime change, or at least get the religious leaders out of the way and bring in more moderate, cooperative leadership. Iranians are protesting and that takes huge courage given how brutal the government is toward them. Foolish to think the people really protested the death of Soleimani; they are fed up with the misery of their collapsing economy.

  44. @gmt Yes. US will cause economic collapse and then say ' they are fed up with the misery of their collapsing economy'.

  45. The assassination of Suleimani can only be seen as a net positive now. The people of Iran are demanding a better government, the Europeans appear willing to exert pressure compounding the impact of US sanctions, and the world is rid of a horrible terrorist.

  46. And to thus I say: all because of Donald Trump and his thinking. Looking forward to another four years.

  47. @Patrick Turner Perhaps all due to the incompetent falling of the plane, that is what is turning people aroun, not the murder of Suleimani.

  48. @Patrick Turner It is not the assassination of Suleimani that has brought the Iranians out on the street over the past few days. In the first few days after the assassination Iranians took to the streets in anger against the United States. It was after the downing of the Ukrainian jet liner and the governments admitting of its role that is bringing them out now. And it is easy to make the argument that if we had not killed Suleimani and the Iranians had not felt obligated to respond that the anti-craft unit would not have been in such a high state of alert and acted recklessly.

  49. Why don’t they sanction the United States?

  50. @Jean-Paul Marat Exactly how would this work?

  51. Our long term allies, now gone, thanks to Donald Trump.

  52. @MIMA Do you really believe that? I don’t. To whom else will they look for support. None of them are willing to pay the bill themselves.

  53. @MIMA The US now has many allies in the Middle East thanks to Iran's predatory actions.

  54. @T Smith Please! That old saw. Many have paid in blood and treasure and national divisiveness, having been forced to join the US's ill-advised and illegal wars around the world. Time to grow up.

  55. Not surprising that Europe has decided it can act independently of the United States here. It is a dangerous situation and the US has abdicated its responsibility (likely because our representative in the deal at the time was Obama; an insane reason for such a precipitous act). That the US president is unstable is no reason for Europe to be in avoidable jeopardy.

  56. The adults in the room pick up the pieces left scattered behind from a feckless American retreat from world leadership. We should all wish them well.

  57. Iran, like North Korea, will never willingly abandon is goal of being a nuclear power. Only with nuclear weapons will either of the two possess the ability to enable the intimidation of its neighbors, to advance their programs to spread influence, and deter the world from stopping any evil agenda. To expect them to fully comply with a treaty that requires abandoning nuclear ambitions and becoming another good member of the international community is simply delusional.

  58. @beefrits And your solution? Just let them continue to run their game until nuclear war with them is inevitable?

  59. @beefrits, sure, it's not that it's pretty much the fault of the US and the UK that Iran is a theocratic regime, right?

  60. @beefrits What intimidation? Any potential "intimidatee" knows that neither NK or Iran could use their nukes without being annihilated by the USA, or one of the other nuclear powers, depending on who is allied with whom. NK is a criminal enterprise and wouldn't want to jeopardize that enterprise. Both countries want prestige and status and would be unlikely to throw that status away once achieved.

  61. UK, France and Germany simply want to please Trump! Iran has kept her part of the bargain - till now when they see there nothing in the deal for them.

  62. @Karamagi F A horribly wrong analysis, Karamagi. The European countries see that things are spiraling out of control, threatening a war in the Persian Gulf that could threaten world oil supplies and the global economy, meaning threaten them. Given that Trump's behavior is irrational and confrontational, but they can't stop that, while Iran's behavior is rational (in the sense that it's making logical moves in a dangerous game of brinksmanship) but foolishly confrontational, and the European countries CAN stop that, so the European countries are doing the only thing they can do to try to keep a conflagration from igniting. They are pressuring the Iranians. It has absolutely nothing to do with "pleasing" Trump, and it's insane to think the European leaders are such sycophants.

  63. @Bob Lacatena What part of JCAP had Iran breached till now? Who ripped it apart? Admit it Bob! UK, France, Germany are simply afraid to speak truth to power.

  64. Excellent idea on the part of the UK, France and Germany. Only the targeted country is wrong. It shouldn't be Iran - it should be the United States, fair and square. Iran did not rip up the JCPOA - the US did. Iran strictly observed ALL the terms of the deal - the Americans simply walked away from it. Iran kept repeating all along, even under the rapidly increasing US sanctions' pressure, that they will adhere to the terms of the agreement, as long all other parties do as well. The Europeans first stood up to the American bullying - then caved. Now, their subservience is on full display.

  65. @waldo Er, the problem has not been with the resolve of EU countries - it's about the EU companies that would need to ignore American sanctions on doing business with Iran. Specifically companies like Siemens who are massively invested in American markets and thus vulnerable to direct economic and criminal consequences in their American operations. Europe has endeavoured to promise these companies compensation for lost American business but hasn't convinced those commercial entities that it's feasible to do. In addition, some EU countries have been more direct. Theresa May's government actually criminalised compliance with US sanctions. ANY company - including foreign ones - (as well as its officers) operating in the UK that complies with a sanctions order from a US court is criminally in breach of UK law. You can only do so much..

  66. yes I agree. The EU has no back bone as the US imposes its foreign policy will in the area soon to be usurped by another bad player Putin.

  67. @Jeff The JCPOA was an agreement that took two years for eight countries to work out successfully. Obama didn't make it up. Do you really want to go down the path of agreements, conventions and treaties unratified by the US? It's a pretty embarassing list.

  68. We have seen this movie many times before: an outside attack on Iranian leadership ends up with unifying the country and strengthening the hard-liners and pushing moderates out of government. I have said it before and I say it again: It was the Iran-Iraq war - largely supported and sustained by the US - that allowed the Iranian regime solidify its position. The best thing that the US and EU can do is to leave Iran to Iranians.

  69. When powerful nations like the US misbehave, and they do misbehave constantly, no one dares impose sanctions on them. But we treat smaller nations like children that need to be constantly disciplined. We "ground" them from time to time so that they know who the boss is and acquiesce to our wishes.

  70. @JB We've been doing this for over a century. After we "liberated" the Philippines from Spain and the Filipinos thought they were going to be independent, we unilaterally decided that they weren't ready for democracy and fought a war against those who disagreed with this.

  71. That’s why it’s critical to stay a powerful nation. The UK traded that privilege for free healthcare.

  72. @Dave Nobody talks about the British empire anymore. Even the Somalians kicked them out and then in stepped the Marxists/Communists sponsored by the then Soviet Union. See how that worked out? Now China is investing heavily in the African continent and truth be told? They can have it. We've got our own issues right here in River City.

  73. Iran should agree to adhere to Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action after the remaining parties to that agreement impose sanctions on the Non- Proliferation Treaty nuclear weapons rogue nation states Israel, India and Pakistan. Requiring them to join the NPT and declare and dispose of all of their nuclear weapons first. Iran should agree to comply with the JCPOA after America rejoins and restores diplomatic relations with Iran. Just like America did with the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War and the People's Republic of China near its end. Just like America has with China and Russia right now.

  74. Just by reading most of the comments do we realize why the world is such a mess, when might trumps right of course chaos follows,who in their right mind think Iran should accept this, unless they lack dignity and honor, if Iran wants to be independent they must resist injustice at all cost, all the great nations of the world became what they are today by being brave and steadfast

  75. It seems to me that nuclear proliferation has done much more good than harm. They can't be used without assuring one's own destruction. When adversaries can destroy each other peace (uneasy, perhaps) is the best course. The infrastructures needed to support and secure these weapons create wealth and technological advancement. At a ridiculous extreme, the USA has many more thousands of bombs than necessary to retaliate and or destroy the planet, but building, overhauling and storing them produces tremendous economic benefit.

  76. I believe that nuclear arms in the control of a leader guided by religious principles that allow for the arbitrary death on "non believers" and promise significant afterlife rewards to "martyrs" is a very, very bad idea. The consideration that others might use nuclear arms as a deterrent to deployment of one countrys' own loses significance under that religious view.

  77. @Margo Fair point. One always has to be wary of the evil of organized religion. Historians may correct me but I'm not aware of any religious leader who has triggered his own suicide.

  78. The "unintentional" shooting down of a Ukrainian plane carrying innocent unarmed, mostly Iranian civilians that had just taken off from the Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran, Iran by a Russian SAM says it all. Iran should stop any further Uranium enrichment that could result in building the first Shia Islamic nuclear missile/bomb. Iran has lost credibility that it can responsibly handle any IED or WMD. France, Germany and UK have bigger diplomatic influence on Iran than the US. Had France not given Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran asylum for several years, there would not have been removal of Shah of Iran and there would not have been an Islamic revolution and installation of the Ayatollah regime in Iran, 40 years ago. So if Iran still has favor left for France, it should take their advice in exchange for lifting of sanctions. I don't think the new generation in Iran has any patience for suffering the crippling economic sanctions, the high unemployment rate and super high inflation. I am not sure the UN is going to go along with reimposing sanctions because in all likely hood Russia and China the other permanent members will veto such a reimposition if it comes through to a vote by the permanent members. The best way to deal with Iran would be direct talks in Switzerland with Iran by the USA, France, Germany, UK, Russia and China with a 1 point agenda. ZERO nuclear proliferation from now until eternity in exchange for lifting of sanctions.

  79. @Girish Kotwal No way Iran can take that stand. That is the moment the others will go back on the deal (as Trump did without sanctions) and crush Iran. Hussein, Kaffafi are recent exhibits. The lesson is do not trust them. They will come after you the moment they want to or see a crack. You need to protect ourself. Nuclear arms as "deterrent" seems to be the way. Israel knows this, North Korea knows this.

  80. @tdb from Berkeley, CA.Iran is not agreeing to reimposing sanction by France, Germany, UK and said that it will respond aggresively to any such move. Iran does not need a "nuclear deterrent" . It has the strongest ground force in the middle east with Saddam gone, thanks to George W. Bush and its nuclear eastern neighbor, Pakistan is also no match to Iran's military might. Iran having a nuclear weapon will not deter attacks from powerful countries outside the middle east and will actually invite attacks from Israel and the NATO alliance. As I outlined in my comment, Iran will have a strategic national benefit if it can work out a mutually beneficial relation on nuclear non proliferation in the Persian gulf.

  81. Please explain why Iran is being penalized, it is the only country that upheld its end of the deal when all other countries reneged on their end, either by tearing it up or not coming up with a way in which they could honor it. Another case of the West's : 'we are always right, even when we are wrong and you are always wrong even when you are right' ?

  82. @angel98 I fully agree. Once the U.S. pulled out of the agreement, the agreement collapsed because the U.S. was an essential party. Iran would never have negotiated with just Britain, France, and Germany. The West wants to have its cake and eat it too. While understandable, it isn't possible. If the West did not want Iran to develop nuclear weapons, the US should have held up its end of the agreement. Enforcing a contract against only one party is simply not going to work.

  83. Another win for Trump and a proof that Trump was right to withdraw from the nuclear deal. It was wrong to provide $150B plus $1 in cash for postponing the nuclear program for a few a years. Anybody would have agreed to that condition to get that much money. Then, Iran used that money to destabilize neighboring countries using its proxies, to attack Americans and to build its missile programs to be ready by the time it will be able to produce nuclear bombs. Who is better, Trump or the experts in their insight?

  84. @Alex K Sometimes you have to spend billions to prevent spending trillions. To make a deal you have to make hard choices. You would really prefer a nuclear Iran or spending America's blood and treasure going to war with them over a deal that was working? There's little merit to your argument. In 10 years as the deal begins to expire then you RENEGOTIATE based on current conditions. Duh. Using your logic Iran also used those billions defeating ISIS, can you deny that? And as an aside it's not Iran's weapons being sold to the terrorist funding regime in SA that's starving and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in Yemen. That's on us.

  85. Why hasn't Mike Pompeo been tasked with organizing a coalition to create a new nuclear deal with Iran? If JCPOA was such a terrible deal, then surely this administration thinks it can do better. Come on guys, show us what "better" looks like. Didn't think so. Like with other areas, the Trump Administration is good at breaking deals, but they fail miserably at making deals.....when they even try at all. It's much easier to just sit back and criticize what others accomplished.

  86. After decades of post WW2 talk about the rule of law and multi lateral institutions, here we have power at its most naked and appeasement at its most craven. Despite fitful attempts at preserving some dignity - it turns out that the Europeans will always fall in behind a US President - no matter how Kafkaesque the situation. Donald Trump single handedly trashed the nuclear deal and yet now, rather than call him out for the destabilizing global threat that he is - the Europeans have found a way to square a surreal circle, taking the mind boggling position that one party must comply with an arrangement deliberately dishonored by the other. So it turns out - that despite more polished diplomatic mores - Europe really is a sort of continental manifestation of Lindsay Graham,

  87. @Cyrus Nice summation. Lindsay is rarely right about anything, and his certitude about the truth of his own opinions is psychopathic.

  88. Why should Iran face sanctions for failing to abide by an agreement torn up by Trump? Britain, France and Germany should honor their side of the deal by doing business with Iran -- like the other two signatories, Russia and China, are already doing -- while sanctioning the United States. That would make the Middle East more stable than any of the idiocies dreamed up by the impulsive dotard in the White House.

  89. In your opinion those other countries don't count?

  90. More of the same. At least with Trump the mask of nobility in our energy policy has being removed. Like Syria, perhaps we can defend just the oil wells. To heck with the countries.

  91. "The assassination of Suleimani can only be seen as a net positive now. The people of Iran are demanding a better government, the Europeans appear willing to exert pressure compounding the impact of US sanctions, and the world is rid of a horrible terrorist." Yet the main stream media is loath acknowledge this victory for President Trump. Soon after it happened Gloria Borger of CNN warned Mr. Trump against taking a "victory lap". . .but this was before the pundits could create angles of attack to discredit it. . .which of course she fell in line with quickly afterwards. And take a look at many of the comments below by the "regulars" who have found a home here as the Democratic base. Their purpose is to find fault with anything he does, however good it is. Take a good luck. . . because some of them not only blame America (which is a norm they've attempted to create over the last three years) but have actually taken the side of the government of Iran, the seat of the greatest purveyors of terrorism in the world for decades!! This how far they will go because they still can't get over the fact that Mr. Trump got elected.

  92. @Irving Nusbaum Whoa there. As a bleeding heart liberal, I support this move of Trump - i.e., elimination of a clear and present threat to Americans using a drone. That does not mean I will vote for Trump, or agree with him about anything, or even think his supporters have a point. Just because a mob boss eliminated another one does not make them a savior of humanity, does not wash away his sins. Never mind Trump, he can serve only two terms. It is the divisiveness, hatred, class warfare, race-baiting, and other assaults perpetrated by his followers that will endure for ever. Yes they were dormant, maybe nascent, but they are now unleashed. That genie is not re-entering the bottle.

  93. Why ought Iran keep a deal that Trump violated while the Europeans have been powerless to counter the economic warfare that Trump is waging against Iran? And Boris Johnson's Trump shoe shining is ridiculously shameful. Perhaps this is what he thinks he has to do post Brexit.

  94. "The three countries reiterated that they opposed Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the deal and were not joining his campaign of “maximum pressure” to cripple Iran economically. “Our hope is to bring Iran back into full compliance,” they said." I just listened, on the BBC, to an Iranian journalist. Asked if the US' statement that Iranian people want more freedom, he replied that the US should stop their crocodile tears over the "freedom" of the Iranian people when it is US sanctions that have pushed so many Iranians into poverty over the last decades. He also said the 21st Century belongs to social media, and the government of Iran should stop trying to silence all its critics and rebuild trust in their government. That last made me think of our own madman across the water. Individual 1 spends his life playing whack-a-mole with social media—and mainstream media— criticism. Well-deserved criticism. I did not catch the gentleman's name, but I agree with him: Increase in pressure or sanctions is exactly the reverse of what France, Germany and England should do. Offer their removal. Sanctions and austerity seem to be the answer of 20th century power. Time to hang up sticks and bring out international carrots.

  95. The economic pressure on Iran should not be limited to the nuclear deal. It should be ratcheted up in response to Iran’s downing of a civilian jet, its perpetual violation of the human rights within the country, and its sponsorship of terrorism and civil war in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. We all saw the heart-warming pictures of thousands of young people protesting the theocracy in the streets and calling the ayatollahs murderers. The regime is rotten. Some more pressure and it will collapse from within, swept away by young people who want economic and intellectual freedom. How quickly we forget the lessons of history! The mighty USSR fell apart like a house of cards when its lies were exposed and its economy ruined. The same will happen to Iran. I have Iranian-born friends and co-workers. More educated and free-thinking people are hard to find. They deserve so much better than this evil and oppressive regime!

  96. @Mor Apparently you have forgotten the shootdown by the USS Vincennes of Iran Air flight 655, which killed all of the plane’s 290 civilian passengers. This shootdown of a civilian airliner by a US naval ship occurred on July 3, 1988. The US never apologized and offered a few million in compensation for their mistake. You compare the breakup of the USSR, a twentieth century construction, to Iran's history, in which it has been a brilliant civilization for millennia, I spent a lot of time in Iran, and I think your 3rd-hand knowledge of the country and people is sadly insufficient.

  97. @SPQR So because the US did something bad 30 years ago, Iran is allowed to shoot planes out of the air at will? I could never understand the “whatsaboutism” so prevalent among the American misnamed “liberals”. Would your justification for robbing a bank be that your neighbor shoplifted 30 years ago? And just for your information: the Russian Empire preceded the USSR by many centuries and Russia still exists the last time I checked. Getting rid of an evil regime does not mean the country in question magically disappears from the map of the world. It just means its people have a better future.

  98. Interesting situation... because Mr. Trump and the Ayatollah are both extremists, but of a quite different kind. While the Ayatollah at least pretends to be a religious zealot (i.e. if he does not simply want to stay in power with his entourage), Mr. Trump appears to the world as a ruthless egomaniac, deaf in both ears for good advice. Now, Britain, France, and Germany try to assume the role of the parents of two wayward nation-children, trying to bring them back into the realm of reason. I would greatly appreciate suggestions from psychologists who have some experience mediating with such opponents.

  99. @Sohst Sounds like what I hear everyday on the German news. I cannot decide if everyone who repeats what they hear without being critical is acting like a parrot, sheep, or lemming. My sympathy is with all Germans because there is absolutely no other side available. Any one who dares to disagree with the mainstream is wiped out immediately. But as my friend always says every country deserves the politics it gets.

  100. The response that the European Union displayed today is a clear sign of fear and obedience to the economic power of the United States. They adhere and willingly accept a step backwards as they had to withstand the total destruction of the JCPOA in the last months. Respected and implemented by Iran, there is no reason to believe that imposing sanctions against Iran is an act of multilateralism. It is an act of egoism, where the interest of one man have more weight than 28 European nations.

  101. @Baha The problem is that Iran hasn't been cooperating. The elephant in the room has now been named.

  102. @Baha Please read your own news media about the EU planning on enforcing sanctions on Iran months ago for not upholding their part of the deal! And read THIS article carefully before assuming Europe is only reacting out of obedience to the US. Reimposing sanctions a "move, which had been expected for more than a week, was delayed when the United States killed a top Iranian commander." The EU should and hopefully will finally stand up and do their share of protecting themselves and not leave everything to the US only to criticize them after the fact!

  103. Iran really should not be taken outside the context of its neighbors. Before Americans find themselves in a sequel to the war in Iraq, we should examine carefully whose interests we would be serving. Too many see our interests as indivisible from those of Israel without question or consideration. Should Israel's fears of Iran and Israel's determination to have no regional rivals be our mission, which leads us to spend more US blood and treasure? If we could look at that part of the world without playing favorites, we might define a mission that would lead to peace and prosperity in the region rather than more war.

  104. One has to wonder why Iran would even want to develop a nuclear weapon other than as a negotiating point. No doubt its leaders realize that if they appear close to developing one and the mechanism to deliver it, there is a good chance the Israeli would drop one of their own on Tehran first. It certainly considered using them against Egypt and the other Arab countries during the 1973 Yom Kippur war when it appeared that Israel might be losing the war.

  105. @Steve -- That is exactly why Iran needs to hurry up and get it done. No agreements will be honored, and sooner or later Iran will be target of nukes.

  106. A sincere thank you to the following grown ups for returning to the room of reason - Britain, France and Germany. You folks had me more a tad worried there because I was only hearing silence far too long.

  107. @Marge Keller Johnson understands flattery will get you everywhere. He's willing to put the Trump brand on the agreement.

  108. So why were there no sanctions against the US withdrawal from the agreement? OR were there? Why can't Iran just decide to withdraw now following the steps of the USA and yet be subject to sanctions? I can see why this kinds of dealing would draw a country to decide even more urgently that it needs to go ahead and develop its nuclear arms if it wants to be taken seriously by other international players (by bullies in the play yard). The moment you lower your defenses they will crush you, like Gaddafi. This kind of goading and hard play is ultimately counterproductive. And certainly not conductive to peace.

  109. @tdb First of all, read the article closely before jumping to conclusions you probably already had. The deal was for Iran to stop preparing to build nuclear weapons and yes, they can withdraw any time. In reality Iran has already withdrawn. But then they have to expect sanctions. As for peace: Almost all the "male" Iranian delegates standing in the front of the parliament shouting in unison "Death to the USA" certainly proves that by giving in there will be no peace.

  110. I am sorry to see that the European countries are still full subscribers to the US Government protection racket. The Irani Government has demonstrated that it is very conservative in its use of military power, while the opposite is true of the US. These countries should be clamoring for the US to give up its nuclear weapons, if they followed their self-interest. What is wrong with them? Could it be because the CIA/NSA has got the goods on their leadership?

  111. Gosh..."...a "snapback" of United Nations sanctions...". I'm sure the prospect of that forceful, unified and ethically run organization getting "tough" with Iran has the mullahs quaking. Or not.

  112. Well, invading countries certainly hasn't worked. Using sanctions and military force only when absolutely necessary seems to be working out better. The only reason people hate this strategy is because it is Trump's strategy.

  113. @TravelingProfessor, Obama was using sanction with EU as a coalition. Trump came out of the coalition and the whole thing went into a mess. Calling using sanction as a Trump strategy is a joke. Trump has no strategy.

  114. @TravelingProfessor -- No, people liked Obama's strategy, and liked honoring agreements.

  115. If it’s such a great strategy why did Trump have to lie about it? He fabricated two or three stories about it then said it didn’t matter anyway. Why not be straight from the start? Also, what about accounts that he explicitly was trying to garner support from Senate Republicans for the impeachment trial through this assassination?

  116. Great that the E U is taking this action .But China and Russia are doing what they can to reduce the effect of sanctions, continuing to trade with Iran. While Trump continues his trade war with the world ,friends and foe treated as the enemy.

  117. The original JCPOA is now divided into three fronts. The US on its own, the three countries in the EU, and Russia and China on one side. No matter how each side looks at Iran, it all goes back to the original objective of the 2015 Nuclear Deal. At this stage, it will be important, for all sides to get back together, and revive the 2015 Nuclear Deal. The Agreement was not only addressing Iran's plans for nuclear activities, but, also would help rein in Iran to abide by conditions in other areas. This includes Iran's unorthodox behavior in the region. If the JCPOA is divided, and each side trying to tell Iran what to do, will not go far, and at the end, very little or nothing could be achieved. The JCPOA staying united, carries more weight, revive the 2015 Nuclear Deal, to additionally address all the concerns we now have with Iran. This also leads to diplomacy, making it a better route, rather than resorting to military solutions.

  118. @CITIZEN "The Agreement was not only addressing Iran's plans for nuclear activities, but, also would help rein in Iran to abide by conditions in other areas." ****** Pure fantasy. Never happened. If anything, Iran has become more provocative in the region.

  119. Signing an actual treaty would be useful. Executive agreements are useless..The President alone can't bind the US to anything long term. The problem is treaties require much more work as they must be ratified by the Senate. The Senate can force the President to change the terms to pass the treaty..Presidents don't like doing that. Neither do other countries..But that's what our Constitution requires. Given that most here don't like the current President, you should appreciate these constitutional restrictions.

  120. Iran has been inching its way past the agreement for years. Europe chose to ignore Iran's actions. Trump has exposed the charade.

  121. The problem is about 90% Iran, their rhetoric is highly controversial, embedded in bloody violence.

  122. This would tend to force Iran to bite the bullet and just get nuclear weapons and test them. It is the only way to stop an attack, and the only bargaining leverage that the West seems to care about.

  123. @Mark Thomason Dear Mark Thomason, I agree that the Mullahs survival depends on obtaining a nuclear weapon. They will need help from Russia, which I am sure they will receive. Still, their activities will be under the scrutiny of every intelligence agency in the world. The world is so small now. When Iran gets close, they will be given an ultimatum, give it up or be bombed into oblivion. In my experience the Iranians are very rational and sophisticated actors and know the weak hand they have been dealt. They will improvise every step of the way, but when push comes to shove they will not opt to insist on nuclear warheads if they can get some real rapprochement from the US and the EU. The key will be that both the west and Iran must agree to get out of everybody else's country...Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria. I may have left some nation out but this is the only way this can work. Do I think they will embark on such a path? Sadly, after only 64 years on the planet, I think not.

  124. Until the US rejoins the nuclear deal and fulfills its side of the bargain, why does Iran have any duties under that agreement? Besides, the EU countries are already refusing to do business with Iran due to threats of secondary sanctions. If the EU and the US fail to honor the original deal, why should Iran think they’ll honor a different deal?

  125. @John M The EU countries are continuing to honour the agreement and are doing business with Iran, along with the other signatories to the agreement China and Russia. They have not caved. The problem is that some EU companies have backed as they also do business in the USA and fear sanctions on themselves. In response the EU enacted an updated blocking statute on 7 August 2018 to nullify US sanctions on countries trading with Iran. I’m not sure how affective this has been

  126. @John M - might makes right

  127. @Barry More accurately, near all or all European multinationals have obeyed the U.S. government sanctions.

  128. "The Europeans want to save the deal and persuade both Washington and Tehran to begin a new set of negotiations about missile development and Iran’s regional activities, a senior European official said." THAT would be a reasonable deal and so much better for all involved than the original one that only called for slowing nuclear development for a decade or so while not at all addressing all the more widespread, important issues for the region and world. No one wants war with Iran but Iran must act differently in the region.

  129. @Si Seulement Voltaire Maybe together with Iran, others should change their 'behaviour' in the region as well. Like Saudi Arabia. Like Israel. Maybe an all-encompassing collective security agreement could be worked out, coupled with a mutual non-aggression pact among all the signatories. It is time to take religion out of politics.

  130. @Si Seulement Voltaire -- " THAT would be a reasonable deal and so much better for all involved than the original one that only called for slowing nuclear development for a decade or so while not at all addressing all the more widespread, important issues for the region and world. " TheJCPOA was designed to stop Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon -- which it did. Want to stop widespread and important issues for the region and around the world -- get the US on board. I guess you forgot about Iraq and Afghanistan.

  131. Without Israel giving up its nukes, it would be foolish for any Arab country to truly stop trying to get the technology....Our leaders would never dare to attempt to force Israel to disarm....For various reasons... So it should be expected that any nuclear deal made with Arabic nations will likely be broken as long as Israel is allowed to have nukes..Arabs are not fools. Israel is an aggressive country..Any Arab leader not trying to obtain a deterrent to Israeli nukes is doing a disservice to his countries national security. They will sign deals but to expect them to not still attempt to get a deterrent is foolish. They know we can't deter Israel. They need to do that themselves.

  132. Finally. Other nations stepping up. The Trump Strategy is proving to be quite effective.

  133. @Erica Smythe The deal Obama negotiated was quite effective and was working well until Trump showed up.

  134. @Erica Smythe At the risk of sounding flippant you mean the Trump Strategy to pull out of a working Iran deal, sow chaos and betrayal and undue pain for millions of Iranian citizens, and then...sign back onto the Iran deal? I suppose he could add a signature T in front of this new JCPOA if it makes him feel better.

  135. @Aran What did it take for Iran to admit it downed the plane? Incontrovertible and overwhelming evidence that they could not erase or deny. JCPOA just a ruse to them. It was and is a worthless piece of paper they had no intention of honoring. Our sailors being on their knees just weeks after signing it proves that point quite well.

  136. How quaint: allies working deliberately towards a decision rather than throwing a playground tantrum and pretending it's a "strategy."

  137. "Thank God" some other countries and the EU have as much or more power in countering the US's (Trump's) destructive nature with a creating or rebuilding nature. That any other country, state, municipality, organization can oppose his negativity with positivity. It gives us some hope.

  138. Main European powers need to understand the danger of allowing despotic regimes/countries with long history of dictatorship to have access to nuclear weapon. It's not simply enough to delay that access for about a decade but to stop such regimes from that for ever. Such regimes include both Iran & Pakistan. So far European powers, mainly those 2 permanent members of UN Security Council (UK & France) are unable to take its own responsibility seriously by investing in defence, intelligence, & other allied services. Currently they are outsourcing almost all the responsibilities to USA. That's why EU & other such Western powers seem to follow the route to appease such rogue regimes & support Iran Nuclear deal that Obama negotiated. Europe should know the price for appeasing such dictators better than anyone in the World from its own history of two World Wars. WIthout proactive help from Europe & other Western democracies, the job to effectively counter increasingly aggressive dictators (Xi's China, Putin's Russia, Khomeini's Iran, Islamic extremists & Military Junta's Pakistan, MBS's Saudi, Kim Jung Un's North Korea etc), would be harder for USA alone. It also makes the process to defend our open societies and secular democracies from such despots dependent on political equation in Washington & American President. That's a great risk not only to all these western democracies but also for people of those countries like China, Russia, Iran, Saudi, Pakistan, North Korea etc.

  139. England, Germany and France are right to trigger the dispute mechanism. China and Russia should come onboard too.

  140. Waiting for the in-depth story of how President Trump doggedly pursued a strategy that was unpopular with the mainstream media, criticized by the Europeans, fostered a narrative that the U.S. has abandoned its world leadership role that would be filled by Merkel and Macron, but with the passage of time revealed that his strategy resulted in the collapse of the Iran threat and the European nations following the President's lead to increase pressure on Iran.

  141. @johnlo Sadly it's on the back burner... they're still searching for the right words to describe the glory he deserves for his bold and visionary North Korea Photo -shoots. History will never forget how this humble, graceful leader charmed Kim and masterfully utilized his understanding of the Art of the Deal to get him to give up his nukes and reunite the two Koreas, which ushered in an era of peace and prosperity in the region. What a guy.

  142. “Earlier this month, in response to the Suleimani killing, Iran said it would no longer abide by any restrictions in its uranium enrichment,” ... NYT 1/14/2020 I have said before, that Iran’s decision to “no longer abide by any restrictions in its uranium enrichment,” was the worst decision it could make.- since it leaves Iran wide open to dash for a Nuclear Weapons “Breakout” ... Now the Europeans will have no choice except to “throw down the gauntlet” to Iran ( which it has now done) ... Even Russia and China will no longer be able to support the JCPOA ... No One ... yes ...No One ... would be able to tolerate Nuclear Weapons in the hands of a radical messianic Moslem Regime such as today’s Iran ...

  143. Is this a Joke? UK, France, Germany, especially Germany, have no power whatsoever in world affairs. Heck, Russia has more power than they do in Middle East.

  144. @Irate citizen Most of these comments are just condemnation of Trump. They lionize anyone who opposes him and elevate despots just to prove him wrong. They would like nothing better than to see the US humiliated just to make Trump look like a failure.

  145. @AACNY Yeah, It’s America versus China in the World now. One on One. No one else matters except maybe Russia which seems to be a power broker in the Middle East right now.

  146. Just because America has an adolescent bully of limited intelligence and inability to see any subject without allowing his own self-image to obscure his world view does not give the Iranian leadership an excuse for behaving as foolishly as Donald Trump. Within the next year it is highly likely that the buffoon in orange face paint who has been directing his own "reality" TV show from the White House will be forced out of office by the American voters and a new rational POTUS will be in charge of American foreign affairs. The Iranian government, OTH, will still be composed of aged clergymen with medieval ideas about how Iranians should conduct their lives. Perhaps they too will be dismissed from office by the Iranians who want better lives for their own families. The Iranian government must do what is best for Iranians and not fall into the trap of playing Trump's game. Trump is a loser and Iran will be a loser if they continue along the Trump path.

  147. @RLW - The United States Supreme Court is composed of five Catholics out of nine members. They hold medieval ideas of how Americans should conduct their lives.

  148. What a shameless world we live in. And we still ask, “why do they hate us?”

  149. "France, Germany and U.K. Serve Notice on Iran Under Nuclear Deal" AKA "American Democrats (especially Presidential contenders) on the run."

  150. First, we know Trump is not a deal maker but a deal-breaker. Where it is stiffing a contractor or tearing up an international agreement it is clear his way of making deals is extortion and then duplicity dishonoring his agreements. Second, why after this should any nation ever again trust the United States of America. Third, Trump is an ignorant fool, that we know is a basic and everything he does is founded in his ignorance and carried out in vengeance against something or someone. Fourth, what will happen on the day that is sure to come in this century when China, not the United States, controls banking and the world's currency and can then impose sanctions and override those of the U.S.? It is a question we do not want to know the answer to but it won't be a good one and Trump is accelerating that as he is and has accelerated every wrong with everything he does.

  151. Who are people kidding? The region has been a mess since Obama signed that deal. To appease Iran's neighbors he shipped arms to them, which were promptly used in battles with Iran's proxies that killed thousands. Obama then turned a blind eye to that slaughter. In response to these regional pressures, Iran sought territorial dominance in the region. Is the world really better off because of Obama's deal? That's worthy of debate.

  152. @AACNY No the area has been a mess since Bush/Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz invaded Iraq in 2003 with their lies of WMD. Their war brought us ISIS after Bush agreed to a pull out of troops of Iraq. A deal Bush made with the Iraqi heads of state. Obama in negotiating JCPOA with Russia, China, UK, France, Germany and Iran was able to calm a difficult situation. The world was better off because of Obama' deal. Then tRump tore it up once again creating his typical brand of chaos. WTTD!

  153. European leaders should be consistent in their treatment of states. As long as they permit Israel to have a large and varied nuclear arsenal, why can't Iran have a few nuclear weapons for defense? Israel has been bombing their neighboring countries for years, and is quickly annexing Palestinian and Syrian lands. Iran's fears of an Israeli attack are real.

  154. @SPQR Dear SPQR, I agree Israel has been bombing its neighbors for decades. Perhaps it is because their neighbors have been bombing Israel for decades. You did make one bloomer in your post, Israel did not and is not annexing any land in Syria. They took the Golan Heights because the Syrians got a bit above themselves and tried to annex the land of Israel.

  155. All three should have the courage of their convictions and stand down. Do not support this criminal authoritarian warmonger. You should exercise your power over him, for a change. Do not let bygones be bygones. Otherwise, stop laughing at him.

  156. Can we please move past Obama and live in the moment. I personally liked him very much and voted for him twice but I’ve since grown weary of Democrats constantly trying to keep all their eggs in his basket still. He and Michelle have moved on to a very comfortable life, time for the rest of us to just face up to the one fated us.

  157. @John Doe The only one who can't move past Obama is tRump. He is obsessed with all things Obama. The Democrats have moved on. They are only trying to hold tRump to account for all of his unilateral bad decisions.

  158. @kensbluck, only because we’ve forced him to be, like with the economy. After Trump took office and tried successfully to improve it all Democrats could throw back in his face was it had nothing to do with him rather only what Obama had already done. Democrats just can’t accept the fact that he didn’t actually walk on waster.

  159. @kensbluck - The Dems have NOT moved on. Biden does nothing but talk about Obama and how he can take us back to those good ole days.

  160. Sanctions are an act of war. Ask Japan or Iraq how sanctions work out.

  161. @C - We are currently at war with China (trade war, they call it) and we have been at war with Iran since overthrowing their government. Now, Russia (who we have been at war with for over a century), China and Iran have been doing military maneuvers in the Straits of Hormuz. Two of the planet's three superpowers are on the side of Iran, not the U.S. A sanction is no different than a siege of olden days. Like you said, its an act of war.

  162. When Iran decided on striking the Erbil base, in its retaliatory attack, it also targeted 130 German Soldiers, stationed there Should have some died, Ms. Merkel's room to act as intermediary in the US/Iran conflict would have vanished. Given that Europe has tried for years to save the Nuclear Accord, one wonders what the policy makers in Iran were thinking

  163. @talesofgenji What makes you think Iran is interested in that nuclear framework?

  164. The only way Iran, or any other country which has an adversarial relationship with the US, can be safe from being attacked, bombed or invaded by the US, is by getting nuclear weapons. Would the US have assassinated an Iranian general or threatened to bomb Iran if Iran already had nuclear weapons?

  165. These nations should be accusing the US of formally being in noncompliance with the agreement and bring sanctions against the US. The world has to step up to and stick a finger in the US sanctimonious behavior. Iran is only rationally reacting to US aggression.

  166. I hate to say it, but this was a chess move with bigger implications. Trump got Iranians riled up enough to attack European and western embassies. This was strategic in forcing other countries into this squabble. He purposely destabilized the region. The next step is to sit back and see where chaos takes us. This is terrible behavior and risks wars breaking out between factions vying for influence. And it risks more corruption.

  167. @Dr. Girl I don’t see the Trump Administration sitting back. Never let a good crisis go it waste. Shock Doctrine, I believe it’s called. We shall see if the Trump Administration doubles down on Iran.

  168. This is a mistake. They should be sanctioning Trump, but that would cost too much.

  169. Yes, this would cost too much. Trump would bomb cultural sites in Europe.

  170. Iran was complying to the deal. USA broke the deal and imposed sanctions to Iran for respecting the deal. Usually you impose sanctions when a country is NOT respecting the deal. Now Germany, France and UK are imposing sanctions to Iran which has done exactly the same thing than the USA, pulling out of a deal. May be the Iranians should do as chairman Kim of North Korea and send President Trump "beautiful love letters". After all, it is working. Kim still have his nuclear arsenal.

  171. Mr. Malley having been involved in the talks with Iran which lead to the signing of the JCPOA by all the G5 + 1 said that the Europeans are trying not to offend Trump too much but also trying to keep the JCPOA alive. Big fat chance. There is nothing that offends the present occupant of the Oval Office more than multilateral accords that have been signed by President Obama. The tearing up of the Paris Climate deal signed by almost 200 nations was a clear sign of what was going to follow.

  172. @Sarah "signed by President Obama" is the key phrase in your comment. Since Obama then did not get the climate agreement turned into a treaty and separately signed a law that gutted the JCPOA (he would have been overridden if he vetoed that law), his signing something has the same value as a signed copy of his book from Barnes and Noble

  173. It’s good to see other countries joining us to protect civilization. Our grandchildren may yet be saved from having to confront a nuclear Iran.

  174. Britain has been the foreign policy lapdog (except for Vietnam) for decades (the "special relationship") and under PM Johnson supports the US heartily. But Trump's assertions to the contrary, it isn't the case that Germany and France support his aggressive punish-the-Iranians policy. They support the triggering dispute mechanism since Iran has now dismissed its nuclear agreement. No doubt, behind the scenes Trump is doing plenty of threat/bribery arm- twisting ( tariff war?) to make Germany and France line support him, but Europe as a whole has no interest in promoting a war in the middle east.

  175. Sometimes living in Europe feels like living in an American colony. These "brave" countries that now serve Iran notice fail to mention that until now they haven't kept their part of the deal. The Instex barter system that is supposed to help European companies evade the American sanctions enables the trading of just 2 million dollar a month. Prior the EU promised to invest 15 billion into this mechanism. They should be ashamed of themselves for the result.

  176. There no deal if the parties don’t perform. And the US and the EU have not performed. How is there any discussion on this issue? Iran is within its rights. I have lost all respect for the EU.

  177. On January 6, 2020 the Washington post said: Within months of the agreement ending sanctions, uranium was discovered at sites not declared to the UN. Originally Iran reported their Fordo facility was nothing more than a research facility. By 2018 it was ringed with anti-aircraft guns and according to the Atomic watchdog agency it has over a thousand new centrifuges. Iran agreed to reduce their enriched stock pile, but instead it has grown from 241 kilograms to 372. That’s 820 pounds of enriched uranium. The limit they agree to with Obama was 202 kilograms. But according to this NYT story, Iran only started enrichment in 2018 as a response to Trump. This is why you guys keep getting accused for making false news.

  178. @Steve Shocking how many NYT readers actually believe Iran was complying.

  179. @Steve, You are, of course, 100% correct, but you (and the regular NYT readers) need to understand that for the most part, the NYT only publishes news that fits into their various political narratives. Informing their readers that Iran was routinely violating the JCPOA would affect their bottom line, as their "loyal readers" would leave them, and flock to some other site that would continue telling them what they want to hear. That's not ideological speculation, either. Look at what happened to the ratings of CNN and MSNBC, in the first two years of the Trump Administration. CNN's ratings slid and slid, while they tried to remain left of center, as their viewers flocked to watch Rachel Maddow launch partisan attack after attack. It wasn't until the Mueller Report came and went that MSNBC started to lose viewers, as well. My guess is, most of those people have come to forums like this one!

  180. @Steve "This is why you guys keep getting accused for making false news." Which guys, the Washington Post or The New York Times?

  181. I believe it is called "piling on."

  182. @s.chubin Do you mean the way s chubin always follows SHY? I believe it is called "piling on."

  183. Isn't applying maximum pressure against a government we don't like exactly the reason the Japanese attacked us in WW2?

  184. @Mike Beebe If you think so. Blame FDR, not Trump.

  185. The game is out: America and the European trio are playing the old "Good Cop - Bad Cop" charade. To deal with such a situation Iran should develop as large a nuclear arsenal as would be sufficient to face the Quad. That is the only way to keep the hegemonists at bay.

  186. Perhaps - but that’s precisely what the US won’t stand for. Ain’t gonna happen, much to the chagrin of all the anti-Americans here.

  187. The EU caves in to Donald Trump. If Trump is not removed by impeachment or in the 2020 election the entire world is going to go up in flames. That is not apocalyptic thinking, it’s a reasonable fear. The flames of war, the flames of climate change the flames of hatred. For the love of God, will someone not stand up to this madman?

  188. @Donna We did not vote for him in 2016; he lost the popular vote. We have demonstrated, marched, our attorneys have held him off in court to protect innocent people, and we have impeached him. He will not win the popular vote in 2020, either, but defending democracy against trump and deeply corrupt, wealthy and dangerous individuals and organizations is not easy. We persist.

  189. @12 You are in good company - there are human rights activists in countries around the world who have persisted for decades, facing and enduring imprisonment, execution, assassination, harassment and torture. No, it's not easy.

  190. Why not the same reaction to the party that pulled out first..

  191. The Europeans have done nothing to blunt Trump's sanctions. For example, they could have prohibited their companies from cancelling deals with Iran. They have sat on the sidelines and just said "oh, dear, dear ,dear". The real question is whether the negotiations might end up with the US paying reparations to Iran for Trump's behavior. When will the EU realize that you cannot negotiate with a madman, i.e. Trump.

  192. @JS Iran reparations have approximately the same chance as slave reparations, that is, goose egg.

  193. My guess is Iran has come to hard fact reality check, as ex Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto said "We will eat grass and leaves to build a bomb of our own" Iran needs to do the same for its survival. Trump may be right that US needs a better deal but other side need is more compelling ..... survival. Before Iranians knew it and Trump has reinforced it.

  194. "Britain, France and Germany on Tuesday formally accused Iran of breaking the 2015 agreement" Lets be honest, the EU broke the agreement long before Iran did, when they were coerced by our government to renege on most of the financial benefits promised to Iran by this deal. This is Iran's way of lashing out. None of the Western nations have upheld their end of the deal and Iran wants to prove there will be consequences.

  195. "The three countries reiterated that they opposed Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the deal and were not joining his campaign of “maximum pressure” to cripple Iran economically" And yet they already have. They did so when they chose to kowtow to American threats and demands, rather than honor and uphold their end of the agreement with Iran. I don't really blame them, it's hard to stand up to a bully and these leaders knew they risk crippling their own economies should Trump turn his irrational wrath on them. Having said that, for them to "trigger a dispute mechanism" now, due to Iran's non-compliance, is richly hypocritical. At least acknowledge that you failed to uphold your end of the bargain well over a year ago.

  196. Interesting that so many readers seem to think the JCPOA has the force of a treaty. It does not. President Obama knew he couldn't get the Senate to ratify the JCPOA so the document became an "agreement". This distinction is very important because, like an Executive Order, it is subject to a future President (like the current one) who may simply renounce it and withdraw. If a future deal can be worked out and it's a good one, it should be subject to Senate ratification and become a treaty. Then Iran and the rest of the world can look forward to it being enforced.

  197. @Ben R None of the other members of the JCPOA had a public referendum on joining it. Why should Israel, a violent expansionist country that annexes Palestinian and Syrian lands and bombs its neighbors regularly, isn't also sanctioned while Iran is, Iran should immediately turn to Russia, China, and India for protection. And they are.

  198. Some proofing would really have helped avoid the two errors I spotted.

  199. If my recall of history is correct, we stopped Japan from obtaining oil in the years before WW 2. This ultimately led to Pearl Harbor. I am certainly not a defender of their attack, but when there is desperation, who knows what the response will be? Hirohito was considered a god, and the Ayatollah is revered in Iran in a similar light. The ones who will be hurt the most are ordinary people unless there is some accord.

  200. When Mr. Netanyahu told the world about Iran, the world wasn't listening to him. Now the world is beginning to listen to him.

  201. When I first read about the killing of Sulemeini I remember thinking about how this could either go really good or really bad. It was a gamble and I would reserve judgement once the outcome unfolded. Clearly, the gamble has paid off and everything seems to be moving towards a weaker Iran. If the European nations impose sanctions, Iran will be forced back to the negotiating table so that a new more comprehensive deal can be worked out.

  202. @Kev - "...Iran will be forced back to the negotiating table so that a new more comprehensive deal can be worked out." Just like North Korea which currently has our president sending love letters to their leader begging for another photo op and a chance at a Nobel Peace Prize. Russia and China just did war training with Iran. That means that two of the three superpowers on the planet are on their side, not ours.

  203. As a long-time subscriber to the NYT, I don't recall any other column that has had as many glowing comments about Trump's putative virtues and accomplishments as this one. Has the South risen yet again and infiltrated the Times' editorial staff? I doubt it. This column's appeal to an inordinate number of Trump supporters is easily explained by the ancient method of asking cui bono? What country benefits most from European countries threatening Iran and supporting Trump's policies? You get three guesses and the first two don't count.

  204. Biden said we should be using diplomacy with Iran. Maybe that and a few more pallets of American currency. But that hasn't really worked with Iran as they are following the N Korea model of negotiation. Make a deal, then lie and cheat, then make another deal, etc. The net is forward progress for their evil aims.

  205. @baba ganoush - "Make a deal, then lie and cheat, then make another deal, etc." You are describing the U.S. and all of its leaders. And the United States has been shouting, "turn Iran into a sea of glass" since the 70's. Iran is simply defending itself against an outside invader. If China had troops in Mexico for the last 20 years while fighting a war in Canada along with hasseling shipping on the west coast and blaming it on the U.S., I can assure you that we would be shouting, "Death to China" in our streets. This is what we have been doing to Iran my entire lifetime.

  206. Iran is being crushed by U.S. sanctions and the Europeans expect Iran to remain in the deal? The Iranians should accept economic strangulation to be reinforced European sanctions as well? Sounds like insanity to me. I know what the stakes are but what does the world expect of Iran?

  207. Once more, Europe disappoints m. When will they stand up to Trump? It wasn't the Iranians who tore up this deal.

  208. The Holy Grail in US attitude towards Iran, that they cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon and actually their entire nuclear program should really be scrapped just to make sure. The funny tidbit in all this, that the Iranian nuclear program hasn't started in 1979, but much earlier under the Shah's rule, with full and technological support by the US. How things can change.

  209. Western imperialism is alive and well. What moral authority do these European countries possess to bully Iran.

  210. @Murali Pasupulati - the 10,000's killed in Iran proxy wars, that is the moral authority.

  211. @Mkm And just how many Iranians have been killed in the proxy war that the US waged by means of Iraq in the '80's? Or in Africa? Or South and Central America? What moral authority do you claim in that respect?

  212. Just imagine if world energy production was not oil dependent. What would Iran do then? Our most powerful weapon against Iran is turning off the spigot, not just by temporary sanctions which also cost us to enforce, but by permanently moving away from dependency on oil.

  213. @J Stuart - the US has already moved away from gulf oil.

  214. Why is Iran being blamed for pulling out of the JCPOA (‘Iran nuclear deal’), when the US decided to exit the treaty in 2018? Since then, countries in the EU have followed the lead of the US and stopped doing business with Iran. By deliberately exiting the JCPOA, Trump put the US on a collision course with Iran. The UK, Germany and France are now distancing themselves from Iran and will readily join Trump when the active phase of his war on Iran begins. This is only a question of time.

  215. @Paul It was Iran that put our sailors on their knees weeks after signing the JCPOA. It was Iran that funded their Proxie Groups after signing the JCPOA. It was Iran that made it clear to all with open eyes they had no intention of becoming 'Good Actors' despite the hopes and dreams of Saint Obama. Simple enough for you I hope.

  216. Looks like a win win for Trump. He pulls out of the Iran nuclear deal but gets the remaining countries to enforce it.

  217. Right. So Trump is proving that the deal was so good that it's STILL working despite his bailing on it for no new deal. What a win. And when Trump leaves our allies high and dry in the Middle East when he cuts and runs -- do you say that's winning, too, because we're saving blood and treasure?

  218. @George Even NPR had someone on this evening that said that it looks like the maximum pressure campaign worked better than expected.

  219. @Sam Depends on the definition of "worked". If the goal was to get passenger airliners shot down and goad Iran into seeking nukes again, thumbs up. If the goal was regime change, that's still up in the air. That might have been working until the assassination, though a scared missile operation team might have nullified that error. If the goal is to goad Iran into behaving like a cornered animal and exploding all kinds of hurt all over the world until we have to declare war, that's still up in the air too and as likely a "win" as any other at this point. We have to realize that there are a lot of fingers in the USA just as itchy as the one that took that airliner down. All that military power and no one to use it on. Every time we get a federal administration that likes such itchy fingers, we end up in stupid wars. The irony here is, Trump probably doesn't prefer that, but for his selfish political reasons he might go there - for the same reason he mistakenly predicted Obama would start a war for his own re-election.

  220. You can renege a deal with impunity if you have the power; you are hammered if you are not. Just another example of might-makes-it-right ethos. It's no wonder powerless people clamour for the nukes.

  221. France, Britain and Germany have not lived up to their side of the bargain by trading with Iraq so they have been in effect continuing sanctions. They should have found a way to evade the US sanctions instead of rewarding the US for breaking their side of the agreement.

  222. I'm almost starting to feel like an Iran apologist (and I think the government there is a brutal tyranny) in pointing out the obvious: the Europeans did nothing while the USA ran a steam roller over the deal and the Iranian economy. And now they are calling in the Iranians to act responsibly....

  223. I think those countries have a lot of guts. They have failed to live up to their treaty obligations, but will not allow Iran to walk away from it.

  224. This is total nonsense. I believe a sovereign nation should be able to do any darn thing it wants. Now these powers to be want it both ways?

  225. Iran has been show to be the vicious, murderous, deceptive, radically religious medieval terrorist government they are, again. And to think we were going to allow them to have nuclear weapons. Who would have been so naive?

  226. When were we going to allow Iran to have nuclear weapons? I must have missed that bit of fake history. If anything, we are more in danger of Iran developing nukes now than ever.

  227. @Tammy Can you point out a single action that Iran has done that the US hasn't? Supporting terrorists/freedom fighters? Check Supporting dictators? Check Shooting down a civilian airplane by mistake? Check Used a nuclear weapon? Only the USA. I'm no fan of the Ayatollahs but just about every adjective that you use for Iran is applicable to the US. Except maybe for the "radically religious" and "medieval" - but if you reelect Trump and the Evangelical extremist gain even more influence, they will become true too.

  228. That's, to say the least, ridiculous: One side increases "sanctions"* to force Iran OFF the treaty - the other side of the same alliance does it to force Iran into it! (* for "sanctions" read blackmail)

  229. Fantastic reporting, NYT!

  230. Still hoping for Trump to take out Iran's industry, all of it, in one strike. Then make tight embarco to force the regime out. No invasion. Just a clean job to destroy military industry and resources and force out the regime. 40 years of a nation that like Iran is more than a planet can bear. Something good must come out of the horrible Trump presidency, and hopefully it is the fall of Iran.

  231. Actually it is the US that the planet cannot bear. Warmongering and climate change deniers we are a major threat to the survival of our species. No doubt about it.