Zarif embarks on journey to save nuclear deal by first visiting China

Erika Holt
May 14, 2018

Iran's foreign minister has embarked on a tour of world powers according to state media, in what is seen as a last-ditch effort to save Tehran's nuclear deal after Washington's withdrawal from the accord.

"Considering the fact that the European Union member states have made the most requests that after America's withdrawal it wants to stay in the JCPOA, we should see how these countries ensure that the interests of Iran will be guaranteed despite America's pullout", he stated.

Geng said that China is a contracting party to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and follows closely the developments of the Iranian nuclear issue.

Iran has threatened to resume "industrial scale" uranium enrichment "without any restrictions" if it does not get guarantees that the trade ties which have been established with Europe since the deal was signed will be maintained.

After Beijing, the head of the Iranian guardian will visit Moscow and in Brussels.

The trip comes less than a week after President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. was walking away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which he described as a disgusting deal.

"Since the signing of the JCPOA (nuclear deal), we have gone from an atmosphere like a gold rush, to one of utter depression", said a Western trade diplomat on condition of anonymity.

The US will re-impose sanctions on Iran and firms dealing with it could be hit, angering signatories like France.

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A number of voices in Iran have suggested the deal is unlikely to survive.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the USA still wanted to work with the Europeans on a new deal.

He added that "the European Union has made the most demands on Iran after United States withdrawal from the nuclear deal, urging us to stay committed to the global agreement".

"Officials shouldn't trust France and Britain".

A photo on the official Instagram site of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei showed him reading a Farsi translation of Michael Wolff's scabrous account of the Trump White House, "The Fire and the Fury", quickly picking up more than 100,000 likes.

Shortly after Trump's announcement about the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran would stay in the deal with other signatories if its interests are guaranteed.

Iran has said it would remain in the JCPOA for now, pending negotiations with the other signatories in the coming weeks before making a final decision.

"For the first time, Iran has the chance to show the world they are not the rogue nation they are always presented as, that they negotiated in good faith and keep to their commitments", said Karim Emile Bitar of the Institute for worldwide and Strategic Studies in Paris.

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