Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Iran calls for clarity over nuclear deal after talks with China

Melinda Barton | 15 May, 2018, 20:09

Moscow does not rule out Iran withdrawing from the nuclear deal with world powers, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said at a session of the Valdai global discussion club on Tuesday. "I believe that the scenario of Iran's withdrawal from the agreement can't be fully ruled out, if Iran does not agree with the other participants on a basis suitable for it", TASS quoted Ryabkov as saying. Since US President Donald Trump has vowed the "strongest" form of economic sanctions, it's not yet clear what kind of sums the parties are likely to be discussing.

Prior to his visit to Brussels, Zarif made stops in Moscow and Beijing where he was given assurances that Russian Federation and China will continue to defend the deal, while he made it clear that Iran wants to continue reaping the economic benefits that the country has enjoyed since first beginning to comply with the terms of the deal just over two years ago.

Iran has said it would remain in the JCPOA for now, pending negotiations with the other signatories before making a final decision. "Our talks (with the E3) will continue in the next two weeks", he said, referring to Britain, France and Germany.

Iran's foreign minister began talks in Brussels Tuesday on the final leg of a global tour rallying diplomatic support for the country's nuclear deal after the abrupt withdrawal by the United States.

At a dinner among the four countries' foreign ministers and the EU's top diplomat, the European powers will say that they stick by the terms of the 2015 pact giving Iran sanctions relief in return for an end to its nuclear ambitions.

Meanwhile, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had spoken to his German, French, and British counterparts in recent days to discuss cooperation over Iran.

The Russian Foreign Ministry believes that the United States will not revise its decision to pull out of the Iranian nuclear deal.

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

Senior EU politicians recently threatened that the 28-nation bloc is ready to challenge any move that may harm their businesses in the Iranian market at the World Trade Organization (WTO). But the reach of the USA financial system, the dominance of the dollar and the presence of European companies' operations in the United States all weaken any potential EU measures.

But European diplomats have sought to play down expectations of Tuesday's meeting, stressing the enormous challenge of finding a way around U.S. sanctions punishing foreign businesses trading with Iran, which have global reach.

They could consider retaliatory sanctions using the EU's so-called blocking statute that bans any European Union company from complying with USA sanctions and does not recognise any court rulings that enforce American penalties.

Zarif said talks would go on for the next two weeks and European Union diplomats said they needed some time to understand the US position.

"Let's not fool ourselves that there are dozens of things we can do", said a second senior European diplomat.

The deal's proponents say it is crucial to forestalling a nuclear Iran and preventing wider war in the Middle East.

But European diplomats were despondent. "We don't have much to threaten the Americans".