Iran nuclear deal: Envoy starts diplomatic tour after U.S. withdrawal

14 May, 2018, 06:45 | Author: Sheila Harris
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Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who is in China to discuss the future of the nuclear deal in light of U.S. withdrawal, said JCPOA would stay in place as long as European Union guarantees that Iran's interests are not violated, Mehr news agency reported.

Mohammad Javad Zarif's diplomatic tour took him to Beijing at the weekend and will see him visit Brussels later in the week, as the worldwide backers of the 2015 accord scrabble to save it.

Meanwhile, the Iranian parliament's website quoted an Iranian official as putting a deadline for European countries to guarantee Iran's interests in the wake of the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

On this weekend's broadcast of "Fox News Sunday", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo describe the nuclear deal with Iran as something that allowed the rogue nation to "act with impunity".

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly confirmed that Tehran has been meeting its nuclear commitments fully.

President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the deal on Tuesday, raising the risk of conflict in the Middle East, upsetting European allies and casting uncertainty over global oil supplies. On Sunday, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said sanctions on European firms were "possible".

France and other western allies have been critical of Washington's plan to reimpose sanctions on any companies doing business with Iran.

Iranian hardliners - who have long opposed President Hassan Rouhani's moves to improve ties with the West - are already mobilising against the efforts to save the nuclear deal.

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Fellow signatories to the deal have been quick to denounce Trump's decision.

"China will take an objective, fair and responsible attitude, [and] keep communication and cooperation [up] with all parties concerned", Wang said.

"Together, we emphasise our continuing commitment to the JCPOA".

Mr Zarif said on his first stop, China, that he hoped to secure a "clear future design" for the agreement.

"I'm hopeful in the days and weeks ahead we can come up with a deal that really works, that really protects the world from Iranian bad behavior, not just their nuclear program, but their missiles and their malign behavior as well", Pompeo added.

Zarif will meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, according to Iran's foreign ministry.

"[May said] it is in both the United Kingdom and Iran's national security interests to maintain the deal and welcomed President Rouhani's public commitment to abide by its terms, adding that it is essential that Iran continues to meet its obligations", said a Downing Street spokesperson.

Iran has warned it could resume uranium enrichment "without limit" in response to Trump's decision.

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