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Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told his colleagues from the E3 — France, Germany and the United Kingdom — on Friday that President Trump has rejected the understandings that were drafted with American negotiators over the last four months regarding a possible fix of the Iran nuclear deal.

Why it matters: Pompeo's message in a conference call on Friday was a de-facto U.S. announcement that it was walking away from negotiations with the Europeans over the Iran deal.

The details: On Friday, Pompeo organized a conference call with his three European counterparts. Sources who were briefed on the call told me Pompeo thanked the E3 for the efforts they had made since January to come up with a formula that will convince Trump not to pull out of the nuclear deal — but made it clear the President wants to take a different direction.

  • Pompeo told the European foreign ministers he had a meeting with President Trump a day earlier to brief him on the draft understandings reached between American, French, German and British negotiators.
  • Pompeo briefed Trump on the main stumbling block left surrounding the deal — the so-called "sunset clause," which starts lifting limitations from the Iran nuclear program after 10 years from the day it came into force.
  • According to the sources, Pompeo told his European counterparts that — after he showed the document to Trump — the president told him it would not change his thinking about the nuclear deal. He then told the E3 foreign ministers to prepare themselves for an announcement by Trump within the coming days.
  • Pompeo also said that it might be possible to return to the negotiating table at a later stage after Trump's announcement.
  • A senior Trump administration official: "The reality is that the E3 could not agree to end the sunset clauses. That provision is critical to fixing the flawed deal." They added, "I don’t want to get ahead of the president, but I can say that the administration’s position on the importance of fixing sunset clauses of the Iran deal is well known."
  • The State Department did not respond to a request for comment regarding the details of the call.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who was already slated to travel to Washington, asked Pompeo during the call to make one more effort to reach an understanding.

  • That effort apparently took place, but also turned out to be futile.
  • Another conference call took place between negotiators from the U.S. and the E3 a short time later, but it ended after a few minutes after it was clear the U.S. wasn't going to shift its position.

From the other side: Over the last two weeks, European negotiators felt the American team, led by State Department policy planning chief Brian Hook, was unwilling to try to make progress, perhaps due to an assessment that Trump didn’t really want a deal with the E3.

  • France, Germany and the U.K. felt the parties were close to a deal but that the U.S. walked out 300 feet before the finish line.

What's next: Senior officials from the EU, France, Germany and the U.K. will meet today in Brussels to prepare for Trump's announcement — both politically and economically. After Trump's statement, the European powers want to issue a joint statement which will make it clear they are staying in the Iran deal in an attempt to prevent its collapse.  

Go deeper

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker