Iran nuclear deal: Envoy starts diplomatic tour after United States withdrawal

Casey Dawson
May 14, 2018

In a statement published Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said he would embark on a round of worldwide diplomacy to try and save the deal.

Mohammad Javad Zarif's tour began two days after unprecedented Israeli strikes in Syria which a monitor said killed at least 11 Iranian fighters, triggering fears of a broader conflict between the two arch-enemies.

Trump also said he would reinstate United States nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose "the highest level" of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

President Hassan Rouhani said he had asked Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to negotiate with European countries, China and Russian Federation in the coming weeks. On May 13, he visited China, and after the talks with Lavrov he will travel to Brussels where he will meet with EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini and top German, French and British diplomats.

He continued, "To suggest that somehow the withdrawal from the JCPOA is driving the Iranian conduct that has taken place during the JCPOA in Yemen, the rise in Hezbollah, all of those things took place during the JCPOA".

On may 8 the President of the United States Donald trump announced the withdrawal from the agreement on Iran's nuclear program and has announced new sanctions against the Iranian regime.

Before leaving Iran, Zarif published a government statement via Twitter criticising Trump's "extremist administration" for abandoning "an accord recognised as a victory of diplomacy by the global community".

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It reiterated that Iran was preparing to resume "industrial scale" uranium enrichment "without any restrictions" unless Europe provided solid guarantees it could maintain trade ties despite renewed USA sanctions.

"We are waiting now for how the decision-makers in the European Union will react".

Iran denies that version of events, saying the Israeli strikes were launched on "invented pretexts".

"Israel's claim that it had targeted Iranian assets in Syria has no substance", Syrian Ambassador to China Imad Moustapha said on Friday.

Meanwhile, European diplomats in Tehran fumed that Trump's decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal could undermine years of patient work to restore commercial and diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic.

All foreign businesses operating in Iran will be required to "wind down" activities or "risk severe consequences", the statement added, in effect threatening billions of dollars worth of business deals.

Historic deal on Iran's nuclear program from 2015 provides for the removal of sanctions against Iran in exchange for limiting its opportunities for the enrichment and storage of nuclear materials.

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