President Donald Trump tweeted Monday that he would announce his decision on the Iran nuclear deal Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the White House, and despite months of talks between the U.S. and European allies France, the U.K., and Germany – aimed at fixing deal – the president is likely to withdraw, a European diplomat said Monday.
"It's pretty obvious... the president will not waive the sanctions, and that will have various consequences that I think we have yet fully to understand and spell out," the diplomat told ABC News.
Trump's announcement comes less than four months after he kept the deal alive once more, but warned it would be the last time absent some "fix" by the U.S. and Europe.
Those talks have gotten close to reaching a side agreement to the deal, according to U.S. and European officials – one that addresses Iran's ballistic missile program, its "malign" influence in the region, and the deal's expiration dates for limits on Iran's enrichment levels.
"They want to have a new start," the European diplomat said. "I would like to pretend to you today that I feel that there is a chance of the existing JCPOA remaining intact. I think that that chance may exist, but it is very small," the diplomat added, using an acronym for the deal's formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Even with the U.K.'s last-ditch effort – dispatching Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to meet Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton and to go on Fox News's "Fox & Friends" – "There is plainly a difference of opinion, and that cannot be denied," the diplomat said.
Instead of withdrawing the U.S., the Europeans laid out four pillars for Trump to work with them, as President Macron said in their joint press conference in April: Dealing with the nuclear issue in the short-term by keeping the JCPOA; with the long-term nuclear issue through a new agreement; with Iran's ballistic missile program through sanctions; and with its actions in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon through cooperation.
Europe wants to build on that first pillar by keeping the Iran deal and working together to address the other challenges.
Instead, the diplomat said, the U.S. wants to "knock over" that first pillar because "they believe you cannot build a second pillar – a future JCPOA – as long as the current one is in existence."
It's unclear if a new deal is even possible, but Iran has long said it will not renegotiate the current agreement, with Russia, China, and the European Union often agreeing the deal is not up for further consultation.
"I won't hide it from you that we don't share that analysis. We think that actually you can have a future agreement... without collapsing the first pillar and pulling away from the deal," the diplomat added.
But it no longer seems like that's likely – although no one really knows what comes next if Trump doesn't waive those sanctions.