European Union works to save unraveling nuclear agreement with Iran

Wednesday, 17 Jul, 2019

Iranian officials have not said anything publicly about the ship, nor have officials in the UAE.

The meeting in Brussels was focused on reducing tensions with Iran and ensuring the nuclear deal remains in place.

The move comes amid heightened tensions in the Gulf following Donald Trump's decision to unilaterally withdraw the U.S. from the nuclear deal.

Angered that its beleaguered economy is not receiving sanctions relief it believes it was promised under the deal, Iran has intensified sensitive uranium enrichment work.

The EU has urged Iran to restore limits on enrichment that are aimed at obviating any dash to the development of atomic bombs. Zarif's visit comes amid heightened military tensions between the United States and Iran.

The Riah's last known position was near the coast of Qeshm, a small Iranian island in the Strait of Hormuz.

According to MarineTraffic, Riah transmitted its last signal at 11:58 local time on Saturday night close to Iran's Larak Island, one of Iran's major oil export points. The Iranian mission tweeted photos of Zarif speaking to NBC News as well as the BBC.

Capt. Ranjith Raja of the data firm Refinitiv told AP on July 16 that the tanker hadn't switched off its tracking during three months of trips around the UAE. "That is a red flag", Raja said.

Hunt said the deal "isn't dead yet and we are totally committed" to keeping the region denuclearized. "Could it have broken down or been towed for assistance?"

The official spoke on condition of anonymity as the matter did not directly involve USA interests. It does not carry Emirati personnel and did not emit a distress call. "That's a possibility", the official said.

European Union ministers in Brussels also discussed INSTEX, a barter-like system allowing countries to trade with Iran and cushion it from the impact of Washington's sanctions. He did not elaborate. During 2017, Iran shipped 720,000 barrels per day to Europe.

Washington also blames the Islamic Republic for a series of attacks on tanker ships in the Gulf.

Iran's ballistic missile program remains under the control of the Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which answers only to Khamenei.

Weeks after the United States threatened sanctions against Mohammad Javad Zarif, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington issued him a visa but forbade him from moving beyond six blocks of Iran's UN mission in Midtown Manhattan. "Iran is still a good year away from developing a nuclear weapon".

Alluding to Israel's long-standing if veiled threat of a last-resort war against its arch-foe, Netanyahu said: "In any event, we will continue to do whatever is necessary to prevent Iran getting nuclear weaponry". "And they're always welcome to return".

"Iran doesn't recognize dual nationality, so for them she is Iranian, which is why consular access has not been permitted", he added.

The State Department's tweet Monday also cited Japanese Press Secretary Takeshi Osuga's remarks last week that his country was "strongly concerned" by Iran's decision, though it left out him emphasizing Tokyo's "support" for the agreement, "which contributes to strengthening the worldwide non-proliferation regime and thereby to the stability of the Middle East".