Iran minister on diplomatic tour to save nuclear deal

Sergei Savostyanov  TASS

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has begun a diplomatic tour to seek assurances that signatories to a landmark nuclear deal will back it despite its abandonment by the US.

He added if the European powers were unable to make guarantees, "we must choose the path of self-sufficiency and nuclear industry with our own capabilities".

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

China offered to hold strategic talks with Iran but did not disclose whether Beijing might scale back imports in light of renewed USA sanctions.

In Beijing, Zarif will hold talks with foreign Minister Wang Yi on the future of the nuclear agreement, reports Interfax-Ukraine with reference to the Iranian media.

Zarif will later fly to Moscow and Brussels to consult the remaining signatories to the 2015 agreement denounced by US President Donald Trump.

The U.S. decision reignited the danger of economic crisis for Iran, which is now at the center of Tehran's diplomatic efforts.

Iran and China are two friendly countries with strategic partnership which have stood by each other, Zarif said, adding that Iran and China have full cooperation in all areas and Beijing is Tehran's biggest trade partner.

"Iran's interests in important areas and issues relevant to the JCPOA, like oil, gas, and petrochemicals sales, as well as banking relations should be clearly and explicitly defined and guaranteed", Rouhani said.

While announcing his decision, Trump called the agreement "defective at its core", claiming that after the lifiting of the sanctions Tehran "used its new funds to build nuclear-capable missiles, support terrorism and cause havoc throughout the Middle East and beyond". "They will never abandon the USA for us", said housewife Poormoslem at a protest rally against Trump on Friday.

Before leaving, Zarif published a government statement on his Twitter page, slamming Trump's "extremist administration" for abandoning "an accord recognized as a victory of diplomacy by the global community".

Meanwhile, European diplomats in Tehran fumed that Trump's decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal could undermine years of patient work to restore commercial and diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic.

China offers Iran a valuable alternative to trade with the USA and Europe.

France and other western allies have been critical of Washington's plan to reimpose sanctions on any companies doing business with Iran.

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