US making back-up plan if Iran Nuclear deal fails

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WASHINGTON - The United States has had constructive talks about the Iran nuclear deal with Britain, France and Germany but is making contingency plans should they fail, the lead US negotiator said on Wednesday.

US President Donald Trump gave an ultimatum on January 12 to the European powers saying they must agree to "fix the terrible flaws" of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal or he would refuse to extend the US sanctions relief on Iran that it calls for US sanctions will resume unless Trump again waives them on May 12.

"We have had constructive talks with the Europeans towards a supplemental agreement but I can't predict whether we will reach an agreement with them or not," Brian Hook, the State Department policy planning director, told reporters in a conference call.

"We always have to prepare for any eventuality and so we are engaged in contingency planning because it would not be responsible not to," Hook, the lead US negotiator in the talks with the Europeans, said. "We are kind of dual tracking this.

"Hook had two sets of meetings in Europe last week: talks with the three European powers in Berlin on Thursday followed by wider talks on Friday in Vienna with a group that tracks the implementation of the 2015 nuclear deal, which was negotiated during former President Barack Obama's administration.

The United States also had a bilateral meeting with Iran apart from the nuclear talks to demand the release of US citizens held by the Iranian government, Hook said. That meeting took place in Vienna, a second State Department official said.

Washington