by Alessandra Cardone
ROME, May 9 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal triggered worries among officials and analysts in Italy on Wednesday.
U.S. President Donald Trump made the announcement on Tuesday, specifying that Washington would soon re-impose "the highest level of economic sanctions" on Iran.
In the wake of the U.S. decision, Italy's caretaker Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni echoed other major European leaders by confirming the soundness of the deal.
"The accord with Iran must be preserved, it contributes to security in the region and restrains nuclear proliferation," Gentiloni tweeted on Tuesday night.
"Italy stands with its European allies in confirming commitments made," he added.
At a press conference a few hours earlier in Rome, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini confirmed that the European Union (EU) would stand by the landmark deal.
The agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (China, United States, the UK, France, and Russia) plus the European Union (EU) and Germany in Vienna in 2015.
It froze the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for a gradual normalization of Iran's economic and political relations with the international community, and the end of sanctions.
On Wednesday, all major Italian media outlets have in-depth report over Trump's decision on Iran deal, and in many cases with concerned tones.
"Actually, the first not to abide by the deal have been the U.S., which kept imposing secondary sanctions on European and Western banks providing loans to Iran," senior foreign affairs analyst Alberto Negri wrote on Il Manifesto newspaper.
"As such, the U.S. have prevented the capital flows expected by moderate President Hassan Rouhani from reaching Iran (since the deal was signed)," he added.
This would have helped weaken the Iranian leader and his moderate political line to the benefit of more uncompromising conservative Iranian politicians.
Furthermore, the analyst explained the economic consequences might be equally worrying for Iran, since new U.S. sanctions would likely hit its energy industry.
"Iran's energy industry is the world's fourth largest for oil production, and the second in terms of gas reserves," Negri said.
"At full capacity, Iran's South Pars gas fields would produce enough to cover Europe's annual consumption. In the U.S. and its allies' plans, this gas must not reach Mediterranean shores."
Italy's leading business daily, Il Sole 24 Ore, also wondered what was to be expected after the U.S. withdrawal from the deal.
"It is a matter of evaluating the many potential collateral effects of this step...not just on Iran, but on economy and companies at the global level," U.S. correspondent Marco Valsania noted.
A bigger question, the analyst added, would be how this major shift of the United States could affect global diplomacy. "Some (observers) believe Trump's turn will be successful, while others fear a new nuclear proliferation and more conflicts."
The current U.S. president would aim at starving and isolating the Iranian government yet again, in order to force it to return to negotiations in weaker conditions, according to the analyst.
"It is an opposite calculation compared to what his predecessor Barack Obama wanted, and the Europeans still aim at today. It will be crucial to see whether Tehran will remain isolated, or Washington," he stressed.
Italy has long-established political and economic ties with Iran, and is its main trading partner within the EU.
According to a recent note by Italy's foreign affairs ministry, bilateral trade largely exceeded 3 billion euros (3.56 billion U.S. dollars) in the first nine months of 2017, increasing in value by more than half compared to the same period of 2016.