Iran leaders on diplomatic push to salvage nuke deal, demand European Union guarantees

Monday, 14 May, 2018

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who is in China to discuss the future of the nuclear deal in light of United States withdrawal, said JCPOA would stay in place as long as European Union guarantees that Iran's interests are not violated, Mehr news agency reported.

"There are many states which are unhappy with Trump's decision to exit the Iran nuclear deal and never support his move".

After meeting officials in Beijing Sunday, Zarif will continue his whirlwind diplomatic tour by flying to Moscow and Brussels to consult with the remaining signatories to the agreement.

Earlier on Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran would remain committed to the deal "if the remaining five countries abide by the agreement".

Meanwhile, thousands of Iranians signed a petition calling on authorities to resume the country's nuclear program, which was significantly curbed under the 2015 pact, in response to US President Donald Trump's pullout last week, Iran's semi-official Fars news site reported.

The 2015 agreement "is delivering on its goal, which is guaranteeing that Iran doesn't develop nuclear weapons, the European Union is determined to preserve it", Mogherini said, warning that she was "particularly worried" by the US announcement of fresh sanctions.

"Since the signing of the JCPOA (nuclear deal), we have gone from an atmosphere like a gold rush, to one of utter depression", said a Western trade diplomat on condition of anonymity.

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During talks with the Chinese foreign minister, Zarif pointed to good relations between Tehran and Beijing after the JCPOA implementation started in 2016, saying, "We are confident that China will stand by Iran".

Before leaving, Zarif published a government statement on his Twitter page, slamming the "extremist administration" of Trump for abandoning "an accord recognised as a victory of diplomacy by the global community".

Trump hit back Saturday evening, tweeting that the accord had failed to contain Iran's militarism.

Israel and its allies have blamed Iran's Revolutionary Guards for initiating Thursday's exchange by launching missiles into the occupied Golan Heights.

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

Khamenei said on Wednesday Iran does not trust France, Germany and the United Kingdom to provide the "real guarantees" needed for Iran to remain in the agreement. Trump called the deal unfair and doubted that it would limit the nuclear ambitions of Tehran.

"Our economic relations with Iran are in progress and the two sides have made long strides in other political, security and many others areas".