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Iranians protest Trump's decision on nuclear deal, fearing renewed sanctions

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A cleric and a woman walk past an anti-U.S. mural painted on the wall of the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran Iran Tuesday May. 8 2018. 

President Trump did not just withdraw from the deal.

By then, European officials were despondent, a European diplomat said. For the first time in living memory, America's European allies have collectively broken with Washington on a major security issue. In 1956, the Eisenhower Administration balked at supporting the Anglo-French military takeover of the Suez Canal.

It is shaping up as a discussion that will expose a major cleavage between the USA and its G7 partners.

The move offers Trump a domestic victory, fulfilling a longstanding campaign promise, and sent oil prices surging to levels not seen in three years - but the long-term impact for United States foreign policy and for the Middle East was less clear. According to the New York Times, Iran, France, Germany and United Kingdom have stated that they will remain in the deal, while China and Russian Federation are expected to join Iran in accusing the U.S. of violating the nuclear deal.

Trump is hoping for a third scenario: Iran caves in to his and Prime Minister Netanyahu's absurd demands and prostrates itself before its enemies, agreeing to forfeit its right to a conventional ballistic missile program and its regional influence, all in exchange for continuance of the shaky economic relief it was entitled to under the original deal. China urged all parties involved to continue efforts to implement the agreement. The protests resembled other aggressive but orderly gatherings typical under President Hassan Rouhani, who has portrayed himself as seeking rapprochement with the West and is simultaneously trying to save the nuclear deal with world powers while attempting to appease hard-liners seeking revenge for Israeli attacks. The statement fell short of declaring Trump a know-nothing vandal intent on wrecking the global system.

Trump has ceded global leadership to Europe and others. People worry it will be even more hard to find medicine when they are sick. And some big European businesses could end up paying a large price.

The White House said new sanctions could be imposed on Iran probably next week at the earliest, ensuring that nuclear weapons are not developed.

European oil companies are not ruling out reducing Iranian oil imports after the threat of new US sanctions, with some expecting banking issues to hinder trade, but there was no rush to immediately cut volumes.

What happens now? The reintroduction of sanctions will not just hurt the people of Iran, but USA companies such as Boeing which loses a U.S. $20 billion (NZ$28.8b) contract with Iranian airlines.

Regarding his decision to pull out of the Iran agreement, Trump said Tuesday that "the deal does nothing to constrain Iran's destabilizing activities, including its support for terrorism".

He has said repeatedly that the United States spent $7 trillion in the Middle East since 9/11 and had gotten nothing out of it, a figure that fact checkers have deemed false.

The pullout also sends a wider message about American foreign policy under Trump, who articulated it on Tuesday: "Today's action sends a critical message: The United States no longer makes empty threats".

If these firms don't cut their ties with Tehran, the Trump Administration could fine them billions of dollars. Japan gets around 7 percent of crude oil imports from Iran and there are some 30 Japanese companies with branches in Iran.

Europeans, he added, would "do everything to protect the interests of their companies" and planned to lead "tight negotiations" with Washington via the European Union.

"A constructive deal"-that is, a deal to dismantle Iran's rogue nuclear program-could indeed have been struck in the Obama years, when economic pressure had dragged the Iranian regime kicking and screaming to the negotiating table".

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