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Iran’s Zarif willing to work with Europe to save JCPOA
August 21, 2019, 12:40 pm

File photo of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (2nd from right) with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, and Foreign Minister Zarif (3rd from left) [PPIO]

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has told Russian media that his country is ready to re-comply with the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), if Europe fulfills its part of the agreement.

His comments came amid a diplomatic tour to assuage fears among neighbors of Iran’s nuclear program and convince European powers that the JCPOA can be salvaged.

“If Europe fulfils its deal obligations, we will return to complying with ours. We will do it even in case the United States won’t return to the JCPOA,” Zarif told TASS, the Russian news agency.

Zarif launched his diplomatic tour with a stop on Saturday in neighboring Kuwait where he told his counterpart there that Iran was ready to defuse tensions with regional rival Saudi Arabia immediately if Riyadh expressed its readiness for dialogue.

He then flew to Finland, Norway and Sweden.

On Friday, Zarif is scheduled to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron and France’s foreign minister to discuss bilateral relations and the nuclear deal. Macron is to meet with US President Donald Trump on the weekend during the G7 Summit.

Zarif will then fly to Beijing and Tokyo in a bid to convince Asia’s economic powers to continue purchasing Iranian crude in circumvention of renewed US sanctions.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington took a turn for the worse when Trump unilaterally pulled out of the JCPOA on May 9, 2018 saying that the “Iran deal is defective at its core” and that “any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could be strongly sanctioned”.

Iran reacted a year later and said it would suspend some of the obligations it made as part of the deal in 2015.

Since then, European powers and Iran have been trying to salvage the JCPOA. Iran says it will not renegotiate a new deal.

Moscow has strongly condemned Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the historic 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions with the Russian Foreign Ministry saying it is “deeply disappointed”.

“There are and there may be no grounds for undermining the JCPOA. The plan fully proved its efficiency. It effectively copes with all the goals set for it. Iran strictly sticks to its commitments, which is regularly confirmed by the IAEA. We are fully supporting and welcoming that,” the Russian Foreign Ministry has maintained.

On July 14, 2015, the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the European Union and Iran reached a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s long-term nuclear programme.

Meanwhile, Russia had said it would back further cooperation within the parties that brokered the Iran deal.

Russia is one of Iran’s oldest allies. Both countries support Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and have provided support to his forces to defeat Islamist rebels in Syrian cities.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies