Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Iran official says Europe has 60 days to give nuclear 'guarantees'

Iran official says Europe has 60 days to give nuclear 'guarantees'

Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif launched a diplomatic tour last week to talk the nuclear deal with counterparts, following the USA withdrawal. "Our meetings will continue during the upcoming two weeks".

The top Iranian diplomat is scheduled to take part in a joint meeting with foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain as well as Federica Mogherini today afternoon. After long negotiations, Iran had agreed in July 2015 to freeze its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of punishing worldwide sanctions.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani asked the European Union to stand against the United States' "illegal and illogical" actions, saying that Tehran could stay in the accord only if it fully benefits from it.

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.

He said the USA has consistently failed to abide by its commitments under the deal since Donald Trump took office.

Trump claimed that the deal had failed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons or supporting terrorism in the region.

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".


"We should see how the Iranians' interests can be fulfilled in this situation", he noted.

"One of the questions that we need to ask the Americans is whether their final objective is to make the Iranians yield on its nuclear programme or to get rid of the regime", said a senior French official, acknowledging that Paris was concerned by the ideological shift in Washington since John Bolton was appointed U.S. National Security Advisor.

"The final aim of these negotiations is to seek assurances that the interests of the Iranian nation will be defended", Zarif said at the start of a meeting.

He said Trump's withdrawal also meant multiple cases of "significant non-performance" with the nuclear deal, and "clear non-compliance" with resolution 2231 of the UN Security Council, which endorsed the deal.

"We will look at potential options for supporting continued sanctions relief for Iran to ensure we meet our commitments under the deal, as well as calling on Iran to continue to abide by the restrictions the deal places upon their nuclear program", he said.

European diplomats acknowledged that the EU support, however honest, risked looking hollow after Trump last week reimposed an array of wide sanctions on the Islamic Republic that will hit European companies investing in Iran.

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