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

Hassan Rouhani

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has embarked on a whirlwind diplomatic tour to gauge global readiness to guarantee Iran's interests if it decides to remain in a nuclear deal after USA withdrawal.

"European countries must guarantee that despite the USA pullout from the JCPOA, the interests of the Iranian nation will be preserved", he added.

"The European Union has made the most demands on Iran after United States withdrawal from the nuclear deal, urging us to stay committed to the worldwide agreement", he added.

US President Donald Trump said the deal was "horrible" because of expiry dates on its restrictions and because it did not cover Iran's ballistic missile programme or its regional influence.

"The US withdrawal... is a violation of morals, the correct way to carry out politics and diplomacy and against worldwide regulations", he said during a meeting with visiting Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena.

The other signees had urged Washington to remain in the deal.

Media captionWhat is the Iran nuclear deal?

Iran said it would remain committed to the deal without Washington if Tehran achieved its goals - namely being protected from sanctions against key sectors of its economy such as oil - in cooperation with other countries that have signed up to the agreement.


According to the semi-official ISNA news agency, Iranian Foreign Minister said in Beijing that he will discuss Iran's decision to stay in deal with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. still wanted to work with the Europeans on a new deal.

After their meeting, Zarif and Wang hailed the "comprehensive strategic partnership" between their countries, with the Chinese minister saying: "I hope and believe that these visits to multiple countries will. help protect Iran's legitimate national interests and peace and stability in the region".

Meanwhile, European diplomats in Tehran fumed that Trump's decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal could undermine years of patient work to restore commercial and diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic.

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".

He continued, "To suggest that somehow the withdrawal from the JCPOA is driving the Iranian conduct that has taken place during the JCPOA in Yemen, the rise in Hezbollah, all of those things took place during the JCPOA".

Israeli warplanes hit dozens of military targets in Syria early Thursday, claiming that they were in response to an Iranian rocket attack from the Syrian territory.

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