Iran's Foreign Minister: Breaking Agreements 'Has Become a Habit for the US'

Elias Hubbard
May 16, 2018

While announcing his decision, Trump called the agreement "defective at its core", claiming that after the lifting of the sanctions Tehran "used its new funds to build nuclear-capable missiles, support terrorism and cause havoc throughout the Middle East and beyond".

The Iranian foreign minister's conversation with Asselborn came as the former is visiting Brussels to attend a trilateral meeting with his French, British, and German counterparts as well as the European Union foreign policy chief on the fate of the Iran nuclear deal.

Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted by Fars news agency as saying he was not optimistic on the prospects of the talks with the Europeans.

He said the deal "is based on the balance of obligations" between Tehran and the opposite side, including the United States, and that after Washington's pullout "this balance is undermined", adding, "We should see how we can secure the interests of the Iranian people".

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".

Before the tour Zarif 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.

European diplomats acknowledged that the EU support, however honest, risked looking hollow after Trump reimposed an array of wide sanctions last week on Iran that will hit European companies investing there.

"If the remaining five countries continue to abide by the agreement, Iran will remain in the deal despite the will of America", he said during a meeting with Sri Lanka's president.

Saving the deal is going to rest heavily on ensuring these nations can combine efforts to block United States sanctions from preventing global companies doing business in Iran.

"Let's not fool ourselves that there are dozens of things we can do", said a senior European diplomat.

Zarif told the media after the meeting that he believed both sides were "on the right track" to ensure that the interests of the JCPOA's "remaining participants, particularly Iran, will be preserved and guaranteed".

Johnson said he would discuss ways to protect European companies doing business with Iran at the Brussels meeting.

Analysts have suggested Russian Federation could benefit economically from the U.S. pull-out, as it is less exposed to the consequences of renewed sanctions than Europe.

The sentiment was echoed on the streets.

"Officials shouldn't trust France and Britain".

"Together, we emphasise our continuing commitment to the JCPOA".

Lavrov and Zarif met on May 14 in Moscow - the Iranian diplomat's second stop, after Beijing, on a tour of key capitals as Tehran deals with the fallout from Trump's decision to pull out of the accord.

But analysts said Iran was determined to maintain the moral high ground in the coming weeks.

"We are ready to hold strategic discussions with Iran on a timely basis".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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