Iran presses European Union on measures to salvage nuclear deal

Iran presses European Union on measures to salvage nuclear deal

Iran presses European Union on measures to salvage nuclear deal

European powers have until May 31 to present Iran with a plan to offset the U.S. pullout from its nuclear deal and Washington's renewed sanctions, a senior Iranian official said, with Tehran "weeks" away from deciding whether to quit the pact.

Members to the Joint Commission of the nuclear deal, namely China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Iran, are attending the meeting.

"We expect the (economic) package to be given to us by the end of May", the Iranian official said.

"I think we have good reasons to think we will succeed, provided that, once again, all of us have relevant political will", said Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's arms control and non-proliferation department. "The Plan B has just started to be figured out", Reuters quoted the official as saying.

President Donald Trump's May 8 order to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, and reimpose US sanctions has cast doubt over whether the deal can still work.

"If the Europeans hesitate in responding to our demands, Iran is entitled to resuming its nuclear activities", he said in a statement.

A senior diplomat at IAEA headquarters said this was not prompted by any lack of co-operation or change of behaviour on Iran's part.

Pompeo had warned on May 21 that the United States would hit Iran with the "strongest sanctions in history" unless it agrees to stronger curbs on its nuclear activities and an end to its ballistic-missile program, as well as its military interventions in Syria and Yemen.

Iran has struggled to benefit from the accord so far, partly because of remaining unilateral US sanctions that have deterred major Western investors from doing business with Tehran.

Iran's supreme leader set out a series of conditions on Wednesday for Iran to stay in the deal.

"We think it's most likely that in the next three to four months, the Iranians decide to walk, simply because what the Europeans can offer - with regards to trade, investment and oil sales - it will not be sufficient to balance out the nuclear concession that Iran is making".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week vowed to destroy Iran's economy and "crush" its operatives and proxies around the world, offering a hard-line vision that many analysts said seemed meant to provoke Tehran. Some Western companies have already quit Iran or said they may have to leave because of the new USA sanctions.

The official said that if they were unhappy with how things panned out they would seek a ministerial meeting and then decide.

Those measures include banning EU-based firms from complying with the reimposed US sanctions, urging governments to make transfers to Iran's central bank to avoid fines and creating alternative financing channels.

The official noted that the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday reported Iran had complied with limits on the level to which it can enrich uranium, its stock of enriched uranium and other items. The IAEA's director general, Yukiya Amano, briefed participants before Friday's meeting.

Talks with European powers on an economic package aimed at salvaging the Iran nuclear deal will continue after a round of discussions that took place in Vienna on Friday, Iran's deputy foreign minister said.

Related news