Iran nuclear deal 'in intensive care' as signatories meet in Vienna

Iran nuclear deal 'in intensive care' as signatories meet in Vienna

As the European Union (EU) is trying to salvage the Iran nuclear deal after the USA walked out of it, Tehran now wants Europe to submit a package of oil and bank guarantees to Tehran by the end of the month, according to a senior Iranian official.

On Wednesday, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran would not discuss its missile programme in any new deal, as demanded by the USA, and said European countries had to compensate Iran if it experienced a dip in oil sales.

Since President Donald Trump pulled the United States out last month, European powers have been trying to find a way to ensure Iran still receives economic benefits to persuade it to stay in the deal.

"I must tell you that the JCPOA is a major worldwide asset".

Meanwhile, France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned that the USA move to reimpose sanctions while demanding a tougher, broader deal with Iran risks destabilizing the Middle East. The package is meant to compensate for Washington's withdrawal from the agreement.

In exchange, Tehran was granted widespread relief from worldwide trade, oil and banking sanctions.

Apart from a poorly informed campaign promise, there's no logical reason why Trump has dumped the Iran nuclear deal. Iran's senior nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, urged the European signatories to keep the deal beneficial for Iran.

"We expect the (economic) package to be given to us by the end of May", the official noted, according to Reuters. "I'm sorry to say that we haven't (seen) the Plan B yet".

Secretary Pompeo warned Iran to agree to these demands, otherwise, the USA will impose tough economic sanctions.

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While European nations share those concerns, they have said that as long as Tehran meets its commitments, they would remain in the deal.

"We believe Iran's economy is attractive enough to bring companies and banks and businesses into Iran", he said.

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

The UK, France and Germany - all signatories to the deal - are already in talks with Iran to protect their businesses from possible punishment by the US. "We made the JCPOA in good faith and we remained committed to the JCPOA and they just pulled name me a single reason why we should enter into a new negotiation with the USA or a new deal?"

In a statement after the talks, Helga Schmid, the European Union representative who chaired the meeting, said parties to the deal discussed "practical solutions" to ensure, among others, the continued sale of Iran's oil and gas, protection of businesses investing in Iran, as well as effective banking transactions and transport links.

The remarks follow a speech by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who issued 12 demands Iran must meet before Washington lifts sanctions.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which polices the pact, said Thursday that Iran continued to comply with its terms, but could be faster in allowing snap inspections.

French President Emmanuel Macron wants to complement the nuclear deal with negotiations involving all sides over other issues, an idea cautiously received by Russian President Vladimir Putin during talks in St. Petersburg on Thursday.

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