USA isolated as Iran and EU's unity on nuclear deal takes shape

EU official insists nuclear deal with Iran must prevail

EU official insists nuclear deal with Iran must prevail

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has reportedly told Iran's moderate President Hassan Rouhani that Britain and its European partners remain committed to ensuring that the nuclear deal with Iran remains in place and that Tehran must continue to meet its obligations under the pact, a pledge that both Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif said Iran plans to keep.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Tuesday that experts had already begun work on measures to get round U.S. sanctions, focusing on nine key areas including Iran's ability to continue selling oil and gas products, and how to protect European companies doing business in the country.

"I am hopeful in the days and weeks ahead we can come up with a deal that really works, that really protects the world from Iranian bad behavior, " Pompeo said.

All parties to the deal are due to meet in Vienna for talks at the level of political directors, Mogherini announced.

When he quit the deal last week, US President Donald Trump gave businesses a maximum of six months to wind up operations in Iran or face swingeing penalties under American sanctions. The minister said he wanted France, Germany and Britain to reach out to the USA administration and ask for "exemptions, additional deadlines, or to respect the contracts that have been agreed in good faith by our businesses in Iran".

According to Zarif, the goal of his trip is to get guarantees from the other participants of the nuclear deal that the interests of Iran will be protected.

Russia, Iran discuss nuclear deal after USA withdrawal
Zarif arrived in Beijing on Sunday for the first stop of his tour, ahead of visiting Moscow and Brussels in the coming days. But he added: "If the nuclear deal is to continue, the interests of the people of Iran must be assured".

Trump added that he will not sign the waiver of nuke-related sanctions against Iran.

European Union and Iran agreed to hold intense expert consultations in coming days with an aim to boost economic, trade and investment cooperation, the European Union foreign policy chief added.

"It won't be easy, that's clear to all of us".

"I think it was testing the limits of the deal's provisions, exceeding them in some cases", Bolton said.

Bolton, asked whether the United States might impose sanctions on European companies that continue to do business with Iran, told CNN: "It's possible".

The three European signatories to the landmark 2015 deal are leading global efforts to preserve it after US President Donald Trump withdrew and reimposed sanctions lifted under the accord.

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On May 8, President Donald Trump violated the terms of the JCPOA by withdrawing from the accord.

"With such destructive measures, the American government is trying to influence the will and decision of the remaining signatories of the JCPOA (nuclear agreement)", Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.

Washington has long complained that the nuclear deal does nothing to stop Iran's ballistic missile programme or its interference in conflicts across the Middle East from Syria to Yemen.

She added: "Britain, France and Germany were of the opinion that the agreement against Iran's nuclear armament is an agreement that certainly has weaknesses, but an agreement we should stand by".

The EU's energy commissioner is also traveling this week to Iran to discuss strengthening European energy support to Iran.

German exports to Iran totaled almost 3 billion euros ($2.3 billion) in 2017, while French exports soared from 562 million euros ($670 million) in 2015 to 1.5 billion ($1.8 billion) in 2017 and oil giant Total has pledged to invest some $5 billion in the South Pars gas field.

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

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