Why Europe is caught in the middle of U.S.-Iran tensions

Why Europe is caught in the middle of U.S.-Iran tensions

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And now to the day’s other news. U.S.-Iran tensions are still running high,
amid new military moves, but both sides are playing down a possible confrontation. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani insisted today
that his nation will not wage war. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that
sending more troops to the region is a deterrent, not an escalation. Foreign affairs correspondent Nick Schifrin
takes it from there. NICK SCHIFRIN: In Washington today, the U.S.
and Europe’s top diplomats presented a united front, but they are divide sharply on Iran. E.U. Foreign Affairs Chief Federica Mogherini’s
visit came less than 24 hours after that troop announcement, which Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo described as strictly defensive. MIKE POMPEO, U.S. Secretary of State: President
Trump doesn’t want war, and we will continue to communicate that message, while doing the
things that are necessary to protect American interests in the region. NICK SCHIFRIN: But while the administration’s
policy is maximum pressure, Mogherini on Monday urged maximum restraint. FEDERICA MOGHERINI, Foreign Policy Chief,
European Union: What we wouldn’t like to see is a military escalation in the region. We think that would be extremely dangerous. NICK SCHIFRIN: The U.S. blames Iran for the
most recent escalation by attacking oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The military released these photos it says
showing Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps sailors removing an unexploded Iranian mine
from one of the tankers. In an interview with “TIME” magazine, President
Trump called the attacks — quote — “very minor,” but that he would — quote — “certainly
go to war” to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
This was a horrible one-sided deal. NICK SCHIFRIN: In 2018, President Trump abandoned
the deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program. Today, U.S. sanctions have dramatically reduced
Iranian oil exports and revenue. Under pressure economically, Iranian President
Hassan Rouhani is publicly defiant. HASSAN ROUHANI, Iranian President (through
translator): Despite all of the Americans’ efforts in the region and their desire to
cut off our ties with all of the world and their desire to keep Iran secluded, they have
been unsuccessful. NICK SCHIFRIN: Iran vows to exceed caps imposed
by the nuclear deal on enrichment and stockpiles if Europe can’t deliver economic benefits. European diplomats, who met yesterday in Luxembourg,
say they are caught between the U.S. pressure campaign and trying to pressure Iran to stay
in the deal, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday. ANGELA MERKEL, German Chancellor (through
translator): In regard to the nuclear deal, we are pushing Iran to abide by it. If that is not the case, there will, of course,
be consequences. NICK SCHIFRIN: But analysts say Europe will
struggle to fulfill Iran’s demands. And more U.S. troops will soon arrive in the
region, as tensions continue to escalate. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Nick Schifrin. JUDY WOODRUFF: We will get perspectives on
the Shanahan matter and on Iran from sides of the political aisle after the news summary.

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