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European Officials To Meet With Iran After U.S. Pulls Out Of Nuclear Deal


The U.S. Embassy in Israel officially moves to Jerusalem today. It's a move that follows the White House decision last week to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. Neither move is popular in Iran. From an economic standpoint, there are real concerns the Trump administration might impose sanctions on European companies who continue doing business with Iran. But European partners remain committed to the deal and are scheduled to meet with Iranian officials this week. For more, we have reached Iranian journalist Saeid Jafari. He writes for the Mideast news site Al-Monitor. Thank you so much for being with us.

SAEID JAFARI: Thank you.

MARTIN: What about the economy there? I mean, Iran's economy wasn't in good shape before the decision by President Trump. Now that the U.S. has pulled out of this deal, a deal that would have lifted sanctions, are people worried the economy could get worse?

JAFARI: Yes, they are. But we cannot tell this will stay for a long time. We have to be patient, and we have to see the results of the Iran new rounds of negotiations. Now, I can tell you that there is a common idea, common belief in Iranian society that if European countries want to not follow the United States' approach in this deal, maybe we can at least minimize the effect of President Trump's decision on this.

MARTIN: So there is optimism, or, there is a thinking in Iran that the Iranian government can make something work with the Europeans, that the deal will still work without the United States?

JAFARI: I think the hardliners, especially the hardliners, are very - they have a very negative view about the future of this negotiation. But it's not all of the Iran society. At the same time, we have moderators, reformists that they have hope, too, maybe these negotiations will be useful for us.

MARTIN: Although, even the Europeans have conceded that the original deal wasn't strict enough, that Iran still doesn't allow inspectors into all of the different sites, especially the military facilities, to make sure that Iran is complying with the terms of the nuclear deal. Now that the Trump administration has pulled out, do you think that will move the Iranian government to agree to tighter inspections, for example? Or, to change their ballistic missile program?

JAFARI: Yeah. About the inspections, I think no because we have a high level of inspectors from the Atomic International Organization agents. But about the missile programs, there's a negative view about the starting any kind of negotiations with the Western countries, especially with the United States because it seems the non-negotiability of Iran's defense capability, including the ballistic missiles, is one of the few points in which most the hardliners and moderator in Iran agree on it. And also, after all, even a moderator like hardliners, convinced that only such negotiations will only be pretext for weakening Iran's capability and setting the maybe new stage for more, I think, vulnerability in Iran in the future.

MARTIN: That was Iranian journalist Saeid Jafari. He writes for the Mideast news site Al-Monitor. Thank you so much for joining us.

JAFARI: Thank you so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.