Iran, EU try to save nuclear deal

Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif launched a diplomatic tour last week to talk the nuclear deal with counterparts, following the USA withdrawal.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has acknowledged that the Iran nuclear deal "certainly has weaknesses" but says it should be preserved.

He will also meet with the foreign ministers of Germany, France and the United Kingdom in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the future of the deal.

Trump also warned his European allies he would impose stiff sanctions on EU companies who either do business in Iran or who opt to honour legally binding business contracts with Iranian companies.

He said the deal "is based on the balance of obligations" between Tehran and the opposite side, including the USA, and that after Washington's pullout "this balance is undermined", adding, "We should see how we can secure the interests of the Iranian people".

Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he hoped for a "clear future design" of the deal as he began a series of diplomatic tours aimed at rescuing the agreement.

The pair will be joined by German foreign minister Heiko Maas in Brussels at a meeting hosted by the European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

"We agreed over the importance of full implementation of the nuclear deal. and preserving the interests of Iran and all those remaining parties." he said.

Heavy storms threaten Tuesday evening and may cause flash flooding
Washington and many surrounding areas have received over two inches of rain in the past few days, and soil is becoming saturated. The National Weather Service in Albany has issued a tornado warning for southeastern Ulster County until 4:15 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he wants to secure a wider deal after the USA withdrawal with four pillars: limiting Iran's nuclear program in the short and the long term, restraining its ballistic missile program and curbing what the West views as its destabilising behaviour in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon.

But European diplomats briefed on the Brussels meeting acknowledged that the EU support, however honest, risked looking hollow after Trump last week reimposed an array of wide sanctions on the Islamic Republic that will hit European companies investing in Iran.

Mr Johnson added: "We will be looking at all the ways we can come up with to protect legitimate United Kingdom and European businesses who may want to trade with Iran, who do want to trade and have great plans to do that".

The meeting comes amid fears that European companies may face reprisals from the USA for breaching American sanctions by continuing to operate in Iran.

Trump denounced the accord, completed under his predecessor Barack Obama, as a "horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made" as it did not cover Iran's ballistic missile programme or its role in Middle East conflicts.

Following Tuesday's evening talks in Brussels, all 28 European Union leaders are expected to discuss their next steps at a summit in Sofia on Wednesday, but no decisions are expected.

Senior Iranian officials say Europeans need to make good on their promises if they wanted to salvage the nuclear deal.

Among them is the possible use of an EU "blocking regulation" which would, in essence, ban European companies from respecting American sanctions where those sanctions might damage EU interests, notably trade and the movement of capital.

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