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Opinion

Iran nuclear deal: Can JCPOA live on?

Europe may not be enough after Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal.

In late 2016, when Donald Trump was elected US president, it seemed logical that he would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

After all, he had repeatedly condemned the deal as the worst in US history and explicitly campaigned on the promise that he would scrap it. Iranian bankers, whose hopes for the normalization of their country’s financial sector relied on the survival of the international agreement, found the news ominous, although outwardly they tried to appear optimistic.

Business hopes

One hope remained for Iran. If Trump, a businessman first and foremost, could be shown that the US would benefit economically from the nuclear deal, he may decide to keep it. To this end, in the final months of his administration, Barack Obama sought to buttress the deal by issuing licences to US companies wishing to work in Iran in the hope that it would tie profits and jobs in the US and ease tensions with the Islamic Republic.

As Iran’s central bank governor Valiollah Seif told Euromoney after Trump’s election: “It seems that the American side is not motivated enough, do not have enough incentives. Maybe it is because, economically, they are not benefiting from the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] as much as the Europeans are.”

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