Iranian General Soleimani Praises Rouhani for Threats Against World Oil Supply

Geneva Stokes
July 9, 2018

Trump pulled the United States out of the multinational deal under which sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for curbs on its nuclear program verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Foreign ministers of China, Russia, France, Britain, Germany and Iran met in Vienna on Friday to discuss how to save the landmark deal following the USA withdrawal.

Iran wants world powers to present measures guaranteeing oil revenue and investment into the country despite USA sanctions when ministers meet on Friday to save the 2015 nuclear deal, but European states will fall short of its demands, diplomats said.

But in a setback on the eve of the talks, Iran s President Hassan Rouhani told French President Emmanuel Macron that European economic measures now on offer did not go far enough. Washington has since told countries they must stop buying Iranian oil from November 4 or face financial measures.

The Iranian president highlighted the problems that Washington's unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA has created for the European companies involved in Iranian projects.

The other partners so far appear powerless to stop their countries' companies pulling out of Iran for fear of USA penalties.

"We expect Europe to offer a clear operational program with a specific timeframe in order to be able to compensate for the USA pullout from the Iran nuclear deal", Rouhani said.

The diplomats said they remained committed to the 2015 accord and to building up economic relations with Iran, including "the continuation of Iran's export of oil and gas" and other energy products.

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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas conceded that "we won't be able to compensate for all the effects of enterprises withdrawing from Iran because they see their American business interests threatened by the sanctions".

"The Iranians expect the others to say what we are going to do to keep the deal alive".

In the joint statement, Zarif and other top diplomats reconfirmed their commitment to the deal and its "economic dividends" for Iran, which has suffered worsening financial turbulence since Trump abandoned the accord.

Since Trump's announcement, Iran's rial currency has fallen, prices have risen and the country has been hit by street protests and strikes.

Any confirmation that Iranian authorities were behind the plot could make it politically hard for European leaders to continue to back the nuclear deal.

Washington considers Iran a state sponsor of terrorism, with links to Lebanon s Hezbollah, Hamas in the Palestinian territories and networks in Iraq and Yemen, and demands it cease support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

An Austria-based Iranian diplomat was among four people arrested on suspicion of plotting an attack on an Iranian opposition group in France last week.

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