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    Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif held a meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing to discuss the nuclear accord. | Photo: Twitter @JZarif

Published 16 May 2018

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has backed efforts to salvage the deal since the United States announced its withdrawal.

Following meetings with top European Union representatives, as well as officials in China and Russia, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is confident that the nuclear deal can be salvaged.

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Posting on Twitter, Zarif said: "Constructive meeting with EU High Rep & E3 ministers in Brussels, following successful Beijing & Moscow visits. Positive start with solid political commitments. All agreed that much remains to be done in coming weeks to practically guarantee economic benefits for Iranian people."

EU leaders agreed to work with Iran to try to salvage the deal, but no immediate decisions were made.

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, said: "As long as Iran respects the provisions of the deal, the EU will also respect it."

Not witholding sharp remarks regarding Trump's decision, Tusk told reporters: "Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump, someone could even think: 'With friends like that, who needs enemies?'"

 

The EU's top energy and climate official, Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, is heading to Iran on May 18-21 for talks on energy cooperation, a symbolic gesture from the EU that it wants to stay engaged despite the U.S. withdrawal.

But a senior EU official admitted there was no silver-bullet solution for the deal and that it would "take some time" for the bloc to come up with what would be a complex mix of national and joint steps.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has backed the efforts to salvage the deal.

"We fully support the efforts the European Union is making in order to rescue the JCPOA," Guterres said at a press conference in Brussels.

"For the first time in many decades the non-proliferation regimes... are put into question... We have the Cold War back.

"It is absolutely essential to preserve two things: multilateral governance institutions and the rule of law in international relations."

In spite of efforts to uphold the agreement from the remaining signatories, the nuclear deal's future was severely damaged by the U.S. withdrawal. French energy company Total has joined several European companies saying they might end operations in Iran.

Iran, with its decaying aircraft fleet, also lost a contract for commercial airliners from Boeing as a result of the decision.

Trump decided to withdraw from the landmark agreement last month, and has moved to reimpose sanctions. The move fulfilled a campaign promise for the president, who frequently referred to the Obama-era deal as the "worst deal ever."


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