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Pompeo may be even more hawkish on Iran than Trump a bad sign for the Iran nuclear deal

Yesterday senior US State Department official Brian Hook said that President Donald Trump wanted to reach a "supplemental" deal with the European signatories to the Iran nuclear deal.

The nuclear deal, which was negotiated during the Obama administration, limits Iran's enrichment and stockpiling of material that could be applied to a nuclear weapons program.

Washington opposes the expiry over time of restrictions on Iran's nuclear enrichment program - stipulated in one of the deal's sunset clauses - and wants the get greater powers to inspect Iran's military sites, too.

After the meeting, Araqchi also held bilateral talks with the head of the U.S. delegation Brian Hook on the USA violations of the pact and the Iranian nationals imprisoned in the United States over accusations they have violated the remaining U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Iranian state media reported that the Deputy Foreign Minister stated that if there are any new European sanctions imposed on Iran, it will have a direct effect on the nuclear deal, according to Reuters.

Iran, which according to the United Nations atomic watchdog has been abiding by the deal since it came into force in January 2016, has repeatedly ruled out any changes to the agreement.

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"The ballistic programme of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has a defensive nature, will steadfastly continue", said Shamkhani, who is a close ally of supreme leader Ali Khamenei. "We need to make sure that we don't throw out the baby with the bath water, so we keep the nuclear agreement".

European powers are negotiating with Washington over a possible side deal in an effort to address concerns raised by Trump and prevent him from making good on his threats to withdraw from the nuclear deal.

Reuters, citing two people familiar with the matter, said a document outlining the proposal was sent to European Union capitals on March 16 to measure the level of support for fresh sanctions.

The report came as Britain, France and Germany proposed fresh European Union sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missiles, Reuters said.

The document suggested the new sanctions would "target militias and commanders" and build on the bloc's existing sanctions related to Syria, which include travel bans, asset freezes, and a ban on conducting business with public or private companies.



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