Iran foreign minister sets off on tour to save nuclear deal

Sergei Savostyanov  TASS

Sergei Savostyanov TASS

Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held talks in China as he began a diplomatic tour with the remaining signatories of a multinational nuclear deal following the recent USA withdrawal from the landmark 2015 pact.

Lavrov meanwhile said Russian Federation and Europe should "jointly defend their legal interests" in terms of the deal.

Zarif and Mogherini also conferred on plans and arrangements for a Tuesday meeting in Brussels between them and the three European countries foreign ministers, FNA said.

Wang said China will take an "objective, fair and responsible attitude, keep communication and cooperation with all parties concerned, and continue to work to maintain the (Iran nuclear) deal".

On Sunday, US National Security Adviser John Bolton threatened the European allies that Washington is prepared to impose sanctions on European companies if their governments refuse to heed Trump's demand to stop dealing with Iran.

The head of the influential Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, said: "I hope recent events will lead us to end our trust in the West and the Europeans".

"We hope that with this visit to China and other countries we will be able to construct a clear future design for the comprehensive agreement", Zarif told reporters after talks with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.

The trip comes less than a week after President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. was walking away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which he described as a disgusting deal.

Former PM Najib, wife blacklisted from leaving Malaysia
At 92 years old, he was sworn in as the country's new Prime Minister and becomes the world's oldest elected leader. It was only allowed to pass after those inside rolled down a window to prove Najib was not in the van.

The top Iranian diplomat said he and Lavrov discussed the JCPOA and a broad range of bilateral, regional and worldwide issues.

Zarif will arrive in Brussels after holding talks in Beijing and Moscow.

Ms. Merkel is set to visit Russian Federation and meet Mr. Putin for a working visit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Friday, while French President Emmanuel Macron will be in Saint Petersburg later in the month for an economic forum.

Under the 2015 deal, Iran would reduce its ability to enrich uranium and allow inspections by an independent agency in return for the lifting of strict sanctions which were choking the country's stagnating economy.

Trump also said he would reinstate USA nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose "the highest level" of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

After long negotiations, Iran had agreed in July 2015 to freeze its nuclear program in return for the lifting of punishing worldwide sanctions. "If the European Union leans towards accommodating the U.S., all the progress we have made since 2015 will be lost".

"Russia's position is encouraging for us".

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