Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Hard to shield German firms after U.S. withdrawal from Iran deal - minister

Hard to shield German firms after U.S. withdrawal from Iran deal - minister

Major European powers and Tehran committed Tuesday to keep working together to save the Iran nuclear deal despite U.S. President Donald Trump's determination to kill it off.

"We all agreed that we have a relative in intensive care and we all want to get him or her out of intensive care as quickly as possible", European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters after the 90-minute meeting.

"There was awareness of the urgency", Mogherini said after the meeting in Brussels.

Iran's foreign minister arrived in Beijing Sunday, Iranian media said, on the first leg of a whirlwind diplomatic tour created to try and rescue the nuclear deal left on the brink of collapse after the U.S. pulled out. "A lot depends on what we can do within the next few weeks". The government said the US pullout damages USA credibility on the world stage and the credibility of accords the US has signed, and puts "the present system of global law in serious danger".

Pointing also to the USA withdrawal from the Paris accord on climate change, Merkel added: "If we always say that, if we don't like things and we can't achieve a new worldwide order, everyone will do what they feel like, that's bad news for the world".

On Thursday, US individuals and entities were barred from doing business with six Iranian individuals and three companies that Washington said had ties to the Revolutionary Guards.

They would have to wind up investments by November or face U.S. sanctions. Those countries were all signatories of the 2015 deal that aimed to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon in exchange for economic incentives.

Iranian officials have threatened to resume enrichment. We all share the common objective of making sure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, are anxious about their terribly destabilising and threatening military behaviour across the region and their ballistic missile program.

President Donald Trump repeated a misleading claim about Iran's military budget Saturday, saying it had increased by more than 40 percent since the negotiation of the Iran nuclear deal. "But as it is now, at least for the time being, we're the country that's isolated".

Zarif is setting off on a whirlwind diplomatic tour, in an attempt to maintain trade relations with the other countries that are party to the deal.

In his statement, Zarif accused Trump of "ignorance and folly" and said American foreign policy had "dragged the Middle East into chaos".

Roth made the comments in Brussels ahead of a meeting due to take place there between Iran, France, Germany and Britain on Tuesday to discuss the nuclear deal.

Among other things, Washington is imposing sanctions on the direct or indirect sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of graphite and raw or semi-finished metals such as aluminium and steel, and coal, Reuters reported. The commission is expected to unveil them to European Union leaders at a summit in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Wednesday.

Seif, whose role is equivalent to the Federal Reserve chairman in the US, oversees major financial decisions in Iran. It also reiterated that the foreign minister is seeking "required guarantees" from the five other parties to the agreement as well as Iran's other economic parties. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not Rouhani, has the last say on all state matters.

Their failure to convince President Trump will see the United States reimpose sanctions and put European businesses under pressure to wind up their links with the country.

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