May 21, 2018

Iran seeks 'clear future design' for imperilled nuclear deal

16 May 2018, 01:29 | Taylor George

Iran's FM Mohammad Javad Zarif Visits Beijing, Russia and Europe to Save Nuclear Deal

French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian speaks during a meeting with his counterpart Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri in Cairo Egypt

Zarif arrived in Moscow following similar negotiations in China and will later head to Brussels for talks with the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and his counterparts from the three European parties. He reportedly added, "If the remaining five countries continue to abide by the agreement, Iran will remain in the deal despite the will of America".

Russian media further cited Zarif as saying that Tehran and Moscow would do their utmost to keep the Iran deal in place less than a week after US President Donald Trump announced Washington's withdrawal from the JCPOA despite earlier global warnings and pleas for the White House not to attack yet another worldwide agreement.

If Zarif also succeeds in getting European support, Iran plans to adhere to the deal, which has lifted sanctions on the country in exchange for the halting of nuclear activities.

Iran's foreign minister said Sunday he was hopeful of forging a "clear future design" for the nuclear deal facing collapse after Washington's withdrawal, at the start of a diplomatic tour aimed at rescuing the agreement.

He said he believed both sides were "on the right track" to make sure that the interests of the deal's "remaining participants, particularly Iran, will be preserved and guaranteed".

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already spoken with Germany's Angela Merkel and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about the efforts, after voicing his "deep concern" over Trump's decision.

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He also acknowledged that the United States sanctions against Iran could affect European companies, which shows "how difficult" the situation was to resolve, said Roth.

Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the nuclear program deal cast a shadow of uncertainty over global oil supplies and increased the risk of conflict in the Middle East.

As Iran's largest trade partner, China's imports increased by 25.2 percent to US$18.85bn previous year, while exports to Tehran also rose by 21 percent.

Putin stressed that Russian Federation will try to maintain the nuclear agreement.

Tehran has warned it is preparing to resume "industrial-scale" uranium enrichment "without any restrictions" unless Europe can provide solid guarantees that it can maintain the economic benefits it gained from the nuclear agreement despite the USA reimposing sanctions. The issue will likely be a focus of discussions between the Iranian and European foreign ministers in Brussels.

China has maintained investment and trade relations with Iran, even under the economic sanctions from Western nations before the nuclear deal. The JCPOA sets the balance of obligations between Iran, Europe and the United States, he said.

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