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Europe, Iran Say Push To Save Nuclear Deal Off To Good Start

17 May 2018

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany-the three European signatories to pact-in Brussels on the last leg of a whirlwind diplomatic tour that also took in Russian Federation and China, the two other signatory nations.

Highlighting just how hard it will be, the US Treasury announced on Tuesday (15/05) more sanctions, including on Iran's central bank governor, just minutes before the Brussels meeting was due to begin.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has acknowledged that the Iran nuclear deal "certainly has weaknesses" but says it should be preserved.

Said Iran's Zarif: "We are on the right track".

But he warned that Tehran expected to see progress towards the guarantees it wants "within the next few weeks".

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has stressed that talks on maintaining the Iran nuclear deal have made progress.

"If we want to save this deal, we know that the sooner we manage to do it the better and the easier it will be".

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Many Europeans, like Ms. Tocci, believe that the unstated American aim is "regime change" in Iran, something that the British and French foreign ministers, Boris Johnson and Mr. Le Drian, have specifically ruled out as a European goal.

Trump denounced the accord, completed under his predecessor Barack Obama, because it did not cover Iran's ballistic missile program, its role in Middle East conflicts or what happens after the deal begins to expire in 2025.

For her part, Sahra Wagenknecht, president of the opposition Left Party (Die Linke), supported Merkel's position on the JCPOA and said that 'we have demanded a more autonomous and independent policy from the United States, and we are happy that we are no longer alone on that position'.

Merkel described the deal as "everything other than ideal", but argued that global nuclear authorities said Iran was sticking to its commitments. The UN sanctions against Iran have already been lifted, however, and the European Union willingness to maintain the deal means that Washington will not be able to impose them again.

"We have to accept, be realistic about the electrified rail, the live wire of American extraterritoriality and how that can serve as a deterrent to businesses", Johnson said.

European diplomats, speaking on background because they did not have authorization to talk otherwise, said on Tuesday that they felt no great urgency, which was just as well, given the difficulty of the task. The commission is expected to unveil them to European Union leaders at a summit in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Wednesday.

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Europe, Iran Say Push To Save Nuclear Deal Off To Good Start