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European powers propose new Iran sanctions

Key European powers are proposing fresh EU sanctions on Iran in an effort to get the US to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with the West Asian country.

Britain, France and Germany have proposed fresh EU sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missiles and its role in Syria's war in a bid to persuade Washington to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.

A confidential document, seen by Reuters, was sent to European Union capitals on Friday to sound out support for such sanctions as they would need the support of all 28 EU member governments, two people familiar with the matter said.

The proposal is part of an EU strategy to save the accord signed by world powers that curbs Tehran's ability to develop nuclear weapons, by showing US President Donald Trump that there are other ways to counter Iranian power abroad.

Trump delivered an ultimatum to the European signatories on January 12.

It said they must agree to "fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal" or he would refuse to extend US sanctions relief on Iran.

US sanctions will resume unless Trump issues fresh "waivers" to suspend them on May 12.

European Union foreign ministers will discuss the proposal at a closed-door meeting on Monday in Brussels, diplomats said.

Analysts say the nuclear agreement, touted at the time as a breakthrough reducing the risk of a devastating wider war in the Middle East, could collapse if Washington pulls out.

struck a defiant note towards Washington on Friday.

"If the United States makes the mistake of pulling out of the JCPOA, it will definitely be a painful mistake for the Americans," Iranian state television quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying. The JCPOA is the formal name of the nuclear deal.

The commission overseeing the nuclear accord said on Friday in Vienna that Iran was meeting its obligations under the deal.

The proposal follows weeks of talks between the State Department and European powers as they try to mollify the Trump administration, which is split between those who want to tear up the agreement and those who wish to preserve it.

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