Europe, Iran Say Push To Save Nuclear Deal Off To Good Start

Europe, Iran Say Push To Save Nuclear Deal Off To Good Start

While the focus of Tuesday's talks was on salvaging the nuclear deal, European Union diplomats said they needed some time to clarify the U.S. policy on sanctions, but also generally towards Iran.

Highlighting just how hard it will be, the US Treasury announced on Tuesday (15/05) more sanctions, including on Iran's central bank governor, just minutes before the Brussels meeting was due to begin.

The comment comes a week after, US President Donald Trump announced that his country would exit the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which provided for the gradual lifting of the anti-Iranian sanctions in exchange for Tehran's maintaining the peaceful nature of its nuclear program.

Speaking as he left the meeting, Zarif said: "We are on the right track ... a lot will depend on what we can do in next few weeks".

It was an irony that escaped few European officials: They were trying to find ways to ease the economic pressure on Iran and keep it in the nuclear deal, while Washington was trying to increase that pressure for unclear ends.

"If we want to save this deal, we know that the sooner we manage to do it the better and the easier it will be". "One of the key things we will be talking about. we will be looking at all the ways that we can come up with to protect legitimate United Kingdom and European business who may want to trade with Iran".

The US has said it will progressively reintroduce the main sanctions against Iran, starting with the automobile and civil aviation sectors on 6 August.

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"They said that they would ensure Iran enjoys the benefits of the JCPOA and they accepted that the implementation of the JCPOA has nothing to do with other issues", he said, referring to Iran's demand that talks on saving the deal must not be linked to pressure on its missile programme and regional interventions.

The Europeans and Iranians have now tasked experts to come up with measures quickly and will meet again in Vienna next week at a deputy foreign minister level.

European Union leaders agreed to work with Iran to try to salvage the deal, but no immediate decisions were made.

Zarif said little to reporters Tuesday but suggested he wanted to discuss the deaths of dozens of Palestinians in Gaza as well as the nuclear deal, which U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from last week.

The regulation, which has been brandished as a threat in the past but never used, was drawn up more than 20 years ago and would have to be revised.

The EU's top energy and climate official, Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, is heading to Iran on May 18-21 for talks on energy cooperation, a symbolic gesture from the EU that it wants to stay engaged despite the US withdrawal.

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