Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Markets | By Josh Butler

Iran foreign minister scrambles to China and Russian Federation to save nuclear deal

Iran foreign minister scrambles to China and Russian Federation to save nuclear deal

Mr. Zarif arrived in Chinese capital city of Beijing early on Sunday and met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi before leaving Chnia for Russian Federation. "We will have to see whether (those) remaining in the JCPOA can deliver those benefits to Iran", he said.

"Our meeting with Mrs Mogherini was good and constructive".

"If the nuclear deal is to continue, the interests of the people of Iran must be assured", Zarif added. The deal's official name is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The EU's executive arm, the European Commission, has been examining measures to counter the introduction of any USA sanctions that might harm European businesses and is expected to unveil them to EU leaders at a meeting in Bulgaria on Wednesday.

"There is no one magic solution - there will be a complicated, comprehensive series of options at both the European Union and national level, therefore it will take some time", a senior European Union official said.

The minister echoed calls from Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders that Iran should agree to a broader deal that went beyond the original accord and included Iran's "problematic role in the region".

Mogherini and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker will outline to the leaders what measures the bloc could take to shield its now substantial economic interests in Iran. "Our talks (with the E3) will continue in the next two weeks", he said, referring to Britain, France and Germany. European governments are scrambling to save billions of dollars in trade with Iran that resumed thanks to the 2015 accord.

National security adviser John Bolton said Sunday he believes European nations will ultimately join the USA and leave the Iran nuclear agreement.

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Speaking on Sunday in Beijing, Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined Tehran's readiness "for all options" but expressed optimism that this round of negotiations could save the 2015 deal.

However, President Trump has explicitly noted that USA hopes to reach a "fair" deal with Iran through new rounds of talks.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said, however, that it could be hard to protect European firms from any fallout from the USA decision.

President Hassan Rouhani said he hoped Iran could stay in the agreement.

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 worldwide warnings and pleas for the White House not to attack yet another global agreement.

White House National Security adviser John Bolton said it was possible European companies that continue to do business with Iran were at the risk of facing sanctions from the United States.

Ahead of Tuesday's meeting, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the European powers would not shy away from pressing Iran on these issues.

The JCPOA has ensured that Iran's nuclear program remains peaceful in exchange for sanctions relief.

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