Iran Seeks 'Clear Future Design' For Imperilled Nuclear Deal

Iran Seeks 'Clear Future Design' For Imperilled Nuclear Deal

Mr Zarif said on his very first stop, China, that he expected to procure a "apparent long term design" for its agreement.

Washington's top diplomat Pompeo later said the United States was looking to thrash out a new wide-ranging deal with Europe "that achieves the outcomes that protect America".

"The final aim of these negotiations is to seek assurances that the interests of the Iranian nation will be defended", Mohammad Javad Zarif said at the start of a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

Prior to leaving Tehran, the minister had discussed by telephone the fate of the nuclear deal with European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini.

Zarif's diplomatic tour took him to Beijing at the weekend and will see him visit Brussels later in the week, as the worldwide backers of the agreement scramble to save it.

China's relations with Iran could see better days ahead as the former is also in favour of inducting the latter in its Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a Eurasian security organisation which could emerge as a key anti-US bloc in times to come.

This is while the UN's atomic watchdog, the IAEA, have in 10 periodical reports since the JCPOA's implementation in January 2016 testified to Iran's abidance by the deal.

Iran's main concern is that renewed US sanctions will have a far-reaching impact on the willingness of non-American companies and banks to deal with Iran, crippling its trade, oil exports and an already strained economy.

A number of top Iranian officials and politicians have threatened in the past week to restart the country's nuclear program following Trump's decision to leave the deal.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tasked on Saturday his foreign minister to address with China, Russia and Europe the options available to Tehran in wake of the USA withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

The sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran's economy, including petrochemicals, energy and finance.

US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 the US would be withdrawing from the deal, which was signed under former President Barack Obama, saying it was "defective at its core."

The plan removed sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran giving up its military nuclear programme. Germany and France have significant trade links with Iran and remain committed to the nuclear agreement, as does Britain, and the three countries' foreign ministers plan to meet on Tuesday to discuss it.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already spoken with Germany's Angela Merkel and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about the efforts, after voicing his "deep concern" over Trump's decision.

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