Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

Iran upbeat on nuclear deal hopes after talks with European Union in Brussels

Iran upbeat on nuclear deal hopes after talks with European Union in Brussels

Top Russian and Iranian diplomats Sergey Lavrov and Mohammad Javad Zarif will discuss at a meeting in Moscow on Monday the possibility of preserving the Iran nuclear deal in the wake of Washington's decision to withdraw from it.

"We have started an intensive process (and) the economic benefits inside the JCPOA (Iran deal) should be preserved for Iran", Mohammad Javad Zarif said on arrival in Brussels ahead of a meeting with his British, French and German counterparts.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Wednesday that China would "carry on the normal and transparent pragmatic cooperation with Iran".

US President Donald Trump on May 8 announced that the United States was withdrawing from the 2015 deal negotiated by the Obama administration. The U.S. exit, together with its threaten to sanction companies economically involved with Tehran, has sparked outrage in Europe.

They include retaliatory sanctions, allowing the European Investment Bank to invest directly in Iran and co-ordinating euro-denominated credit lines from European governments.

On Sunday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington still wants to work with Europe to counter Iran's "malign behaviour" and was working hard to thrash out a more wide-ranging deal with its European partners.

Mr Zarif said on his first stop, China, that he hoped to secure a "clear future design" for the agreement. In the past, the European Union has also lodged complaints at the World Trade Organization.

Le Drian expressed France's "determination to fight" so that the USA decisions don't hurt those companies that have invested in Iran.

The EU insists the deal is working, pointing to repeated United Nations inspections verifying the Islamic republic's compliance with its side of the bargain, and Mogherini's spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told AFP ahead Zarif's arrival that "we must do our utmost to preserve it".

"The consequences of American sanctions go well beyond goods shipped by American companies, " Bolton said.

The accord lifted global sanctions on Iran in 2016 in return for Tehran shutting down its capacity, under strict surveillance by the United Nations nuclear watchdog, to stockpile enriched uranium for a possible atomic bomb.

A number of voices in Iran have suggested the deal is unlikely to survive.

Tehran has expressed its opposition to Trump's move.

And on Monday Putin met Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, telling him that Russian Federation was "ready to continue to uphold the Iran nuclear deal despite the withdrawal of the United States".

"So far we have had very positive signals from signatories of the deal. but what is important is for Europeans to find a way to protect their investors from U.S. penalties (when they invest in Iran)", a senior Iranian diplomat said.

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