Iran foreign minister sets off on tour to save nuclear deal

Thursday, 17 May, 2018

The United States threatened on Sunday to impose sanctions on European companies that do business with Iran, as the remaining participants in the Iran nuclear accord stiffened their resolve to keep that agreement operational. "The policy of the administration is to make sure that Iran never gets close to deliverable nuclear weapons".

As a private citizen, Bolton in the past has suggested that the United States push for a change in government in Iran.

"He is hopeful we can continue strong cooperation", she added.

Trump's decision to back out of the deal, "is something which we feel puts us in a very hard position", said O'Sullivan. "He's talked about it with Prime Minister May, not just Iran's nuclear threat now, the threat in the future, the ballistic missile programs, and the instability that Iran is causing around the region", Bolton said.

The deal's proponents say it is crucial to forestalling a nuclear Iran and preventing wider war in the Middle East.

But Bolton didn't rule out sanctions for European companies doing business with Iran.

Mr Zarif is likely to seek assurances on European investments and the fate of a troubled 100-aircraft Airbus order following the USA decision to reinstate sanctions on the Islamic Republic, said analysts.

And on Monday Putin met Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, telling him that Russian Federation was "ready to continue to uphold the Iran nuclear deal despite the withdrawal of the United States".

The Iranian foreign minister is also set to hold talks with Russian head of foreign affairs Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Monday and foreign chiefs from the United Kingdom, France and Germany, as well as Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, in Brussels on Tuesday.

The U.S. sanctions have a 180-day period during which buyers should "wind down" oil purchases, meaning any loss of supply will not be immediately felt - and companies don't have to rush to find alternatives. “Europeans should not have to pay for USA withdrawal from an agreement.”. Trump called the deal unfair and doubted that it would limit the nuclear ambitions of Tehran.

And the message to North Korea and the rest of the world is "you shouldn't rely on an agreement with the president of the United States that hasn't been validated and approved by the Congress" - the real voice "of the people".

"We have to be realistic about the electrified rail, the live wire of American extra-territoriality and how that can serve as a deterrent to business", said British foreign secretary Boris Johnson.

In the other areas, USA and European diplomats have some shared views on how to approach Iran, which could be carried over if there were a new agreement.

O'Sullivan described the JCPOA as "a strategic, multilateral agreement", and "the single most important working model of nuclear nonproliferation". How the United States can counter that is a puzzle, because Obama gave away much of the leverage we once had.