Russia, Iran discuss nuclear deal after U.S. withdrawal

Eloise Marshall
May 14, 2018

"Iran and China have strategic joint partnership and these relations will still go on", reiterated the Iranian diplomatic chief. "If the European Union leans towards accommodating the United States, all the progress we have made since 2015 will be lost", Agence France-Presse said Sunday, citing a Western trade diplomat in Tehran who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"The final aim of these negotiations is to seek assurances that the interests of the Iranian nation will be defended", Mohammad Javad Zarif said at the start of a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

China's Foreign Ministry said talks included an "exchange of views with relevant parties on the developments of the Iranian nuclear issue".

Zarif's diplomatic tour took him to Beijing at the weekend and will see him visit Brussels later in the week, as the global backers of the agreement scramble to save it.

On may 8 the President of the United States Donald trump announced the withdrawal from the agreement on Iran's nuclear program and has announced new sanctions against the Iranian regime.

The announcement by Donald Trump that the United States would pull out of the agreement came with the restoration of sanctions against Tehran, including six individuals and three companies it claims are funnelling millions of dollars to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard's elite Quds Force.

A number of European companies, including Airbus, Siemens and Total, had established operations in Iran since the signing of the deal.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May spoke with Rowhani by phone on Sunday, reassuring him that "we and our European partners remain firmly committed to ensuring the Iran deal is upheld".

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the USA nonetheless Wished to operate together with the Europeans on a new deal.

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.

China was closely involved in negotiating the agreement as one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and has always been one of Iran's closest economic partners, buying about a third of its oil shipments.

In the past week, it has slapped a new series of sanctions against Iran.

He said Iran was "respecting" the terms of the agreement, "so we are going to stick to this agreement".

The EU trio of Germany, France and Britain, however, have asked for a limit of 90 days, sources in Tehran have said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, have also expressed concerns over Washington's decision.

"They have chose to pull out, we don't think that is necessarily the right thing to do, given that Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA, so we want to hear a little bit more from Washington about their proposals".

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