1023 GMT December 18, 2017
The team of senior European diplomats will meet with members of Congress, the State Department and possibly at the White House on Thursday and Friday, the source said.
The visit continues an extended pressure campaign by key European nations, which has included visits from senior figures, including the EU foreign policy chief and the UK foreign secretary, to protect the Iran nuclear deal in the face of hostility from President Donald Trump, who has declared he wants the agreement changed or canceled.
His stance has alarmed supporters of the multinational pact, who argue that it serves global security interests to lift sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.
But Trump, caught in a political vice, has unsettled things. Under US law, the US president must certify every 90 days that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal, a step Trump took twice with deep reluctance. Even as Trump repeatedly declared the pact “the worst deal ever,” the UN, his national security advisers and allies agreed that Iran was adhering to the agreement.
In October, Trump declared Iran wasn’t complying with the “spirit” of the deal and asked US Congress to change the domestic law to allow the administration to tighten the screws on Iran for its non-nuclear activities.
European countries are worried that if the US adds too many “triggers,” which is what the White House has been pressuring for, Iran might walk away from the agreement.
The deal, reached in July 2015, was negotiated between Iran, Russia, China, the US, France, Germany, the UK and the European Union.
Senior European diplomats have been ratcheting up their campaign for months. There have been visits and dozens of meetings on the Hill.