Iran says Russia's approach to JCPOA 'promising'

A man looks out from an Israeli position in the Golan Heights

European nations are moving to protect their companies from a resumption of stiff US sanctions on firms doing business in Iran, in a critical part of their bid to keep the Iranian nuclear deal alive and ensure it continues to benefit Iran's economy.

US President Donald Trump on 8 May announced that the United States was withdrawing from a 2015 deal negotiated by the Obama administration.

"I think the Europeans will see that's in their interest ultimately to go along with this", he said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told "Fox News Sunday" that he is planning to approach European diplomats in the next several days to pursue the new deal, which would dispense with the USA rationale to sanction European companies.

Altmaier said there was a deadline of up to 90 days for foreign firms to comply with USA sanctions or face penalties. "It depends on the conduct of other governments".

Mogherini emphasized that the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions and the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran constitute an essential part of the nuclear deal.

"So we will be looking at a package of measures that we may be able to devise as Europeans to encourage the Iranians to stay in the deal".

France insists that while European Union nations are willing to discuss issues including Iran's ballistic missile programme and its destabilising role in the Middle East, the nuclear deal must stand.

"Considering the fact that the European Union member states have made the most requests that after America's withdrawal it wants to stay in the JCPOA, we should see how these countries ensure that the interests of Iran will be guaranteed despite America's pullout", he stated.

"I heard one of the primary industry representatives postulating that it might mean, if nothing else, that it's more hard to increase exports to iran who, of course, used to be a much larger trading partner of New Zealand than they are even now", Mr Parker said.

Zarif will be discussing the agreement with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on Monday.

Zarif arrived in Beijing on Sunday for the first stop of his tour, ahead of visiting Moscow and Brussels in the coming days.

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.

This, along with its diplomatic moves to orchestrate an end to the Syrian conflict, has put Moscow at loggerheads with the United States and Europe, which have intervened against the regime.

Speaking on Sunday in Beijing, Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined Tehran's readiness "for all options" but expressed optimism that this round of negotiations could save the 2015 deal.

It also demanded that Iran cease supplying weapons to the Houthi rebels, who have been at war with Tehran's archenemy Saudi Arabia, end cyberattacks against the USA and its allies, stop menacing US military ships in the Persian Gulf and abandon its rhetoric about destroying Israel.

Iran has reacted furiously to the United States pulling out of the deal, with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accusing Mr Trump of threatening its government and its people.

Mr Johnson spoke to reporters as he and counterparts from Germany and France met with Iranian overseas minister Javad Zarif.

"So at the moment, there's some feeling in Europe that they're really surprised we got out of it, really surprised at the reimposition of strict sanctions", Bolton said.

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