Iran minister on diplomatic tour to save nuclear deal


Iran's foreign minister has has held talks in China as he began a diplomatic tour with the remaining signatories of a multinational nuclear deal following the recent USA withdrawal from the landmark 2015 pact.

Trump announced that the us would exit the deal on Tuesday at a ceremony at the White House, calling his decision an end to "empty threats" in the Middle East.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. still wanted to work with the Europeans on a new deal. "If the European Union leans towards accommodating the United States, all the progress we have made since 2015 will be lost", Agence France-Presse said Sunday, citing a Western trade diplomat in Tehran who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Russian Federation also criticised Trump's decision, with Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov alleging the move was "protectionism in disguise", in comments made on Thursday to state news agency TASS.

That is part of a flurry of diplomatic activity following Mr Trump's unilateral withdrawal from what he called "a awful, one-sided deal", a move accompanied by the threat of penalties against any foreign firms doing business in Iran.

Trump has said that he would reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose "the highest level" of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

Iran has said it would remain in the JCPOA for now, pending negotiations with the other signatories in the coming weeks before making a final decision on its future role in the agreement.

Meanwhile, European diplomats in Tehran fumed that Trump's decision to withdraw from the deal could undermine years of patient work to restore commercial and diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic.

Prior to leaving Iran, Zarif published a government statement via Twitter criticising Trump's "extremist administration" for abandoning "an accord recognised as a victory of diplomacy by the worldwide community".

Trump hit back on Saturday evening, tweeted that the accord had failed to contain Iran's militarism.

Iran wants the Europeans and others to give it clear-cut guarantees about fulfilling their obligations if Tehran remains in the deal.

Media captionWhat is the Iran nuclear deal?

Add that trump intends to immediately impose sanctions against any foreign companies that will do business with Iran.

A number of voices in Iran have suggested the deal is unlikely to survive. Trump called the deal unfair and doubted that it would limit the nuclear ambitions of Tehran.

"For the first time, Iran has the chance to show the world they are not the rogue nation they are always presented as, that they negotiated in good faith and keep to their commitments", said Karim Emile Bitar of the Institute for global and Strategic Studies in Paris.