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In Brussels, Zarif says talks on saving Iran deal ‘on right track’

15 May 2018 17:01


Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the negotiations aimed at protecting the multilateral nuclear deal after the US withdrawal are “on the right track.”

Zarif made the remarks in the Belgian capital, Brussels, on Tuesday after meeting with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

“We are on the right track to advance and make sure that all the interests of the remaining parties to the JCPOA, especially Iran, are preserved,” the top Iranian diplomat told reporters, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as the nuclear agreement is officially called.

He also described his meeting with Mogherini as constructive, adding that they had underlined the need for the full implementation of the JCPOA by all the remaining signatories and for providing guarantees to Iran that safeguard its benefits from the deal.

“The JCPOA has benefits for all sides and we must make sure that [the US] would not benefit from its illegal exit,” he said.

Zarif is expected to attend a meeting with his French, German and British counterparts as well as Mogherini later on Tuesday.

The Iranian foreign minister is in Brussels on the final leg of a whirlwind diplomatic tour, which has already taken him to Beijing and Moscow.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) welcomes his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif ahead of their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 14, 2018. (Photo by AP)

He is gauging international readiness to guarantee Iran’s interests if it decides to remain in the nuclear pact a week after President Donald Trump announced that the US was walking away from the JCPOA, which he described as a horrible deal.

Trump also said he would reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

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

Separately on Tuesday, a senior EU official said the bloc’s leaders would discuss shielding European companies doing business with Iran from US sanctions.

The official said Mogherini and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will brief all 28 EU leaders on options available when they meet in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, on Wednesday.

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