Moscow doesn't rule out Tehran's pullout from nuclear deal - deputy FM

Mikhail Pochuyev  TASS

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on a visit to Moscow Monday he was seeking "assurances" from the backers of the country's nuclear deal after the United States pulled out.

The top Iranian diplomat is scheduled to take part in a joint meeting with foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain as well as Federica Mogherini today afternoon.

The European Commission will on Wednesday at its weekly meeting consider means of protecting EU companies which are hit by U.S. "secondary sanctions" for continuing to trade with Iran.

"I'm hopeful in the days and weeks ahead we can come up with a deal that really works, that really protects the world from Iranian bad behaviour, not just their nuclear programme, but their missiles and their malign behaviour as well", Pompeo told Fox News Sunday.

Foreign firms engaging in trade in Iran have also been threatened with punishment, with all manner of companies including Renault, Siemens and Total among those tied up in billions of dollars worth of deals.

The two leaders reiterated their commitment to the Iran accord in the phone call, the Kremlin press service said in a statement. A Russian foreign ministry spokesman confirms Zarif would meet Russia's Sergei Lavrov on Monday morning.

And on Monday Putin met Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, telling him that Russian Federation was "ready to continue to uphold the Iran nuclear deal despite the withdrawal of the United States".

Zarif will later fly to Moscow and Brussels to consult the remaining signatories to the 2015 agreement denounced by US President Donald Trump. Zarif is due to leave for Beijing on Saturday and will later travel to Russian Federation.

Ryabkov also said it would be impossible to preserve the deal without Tehran making concessions, the Interfax news agency reported.

After his talks in Beijing on March 13, Zarif said Iran wants a "clear future design" for the accord. "The most important reason for this visit is to start the dialogue with all parties that remain in an Iranian nuclear program agreement", added he.

The union's high representative for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, and the foreign ministers of the UK, France and Germany, who are party to the deal, met Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Brussels for a first exchange on how the deal can be saved.

In the aftermath of Washington's pullout, Europeans are seeking ways to protect the interests of their firms doing business in Iran and help them escape the brunt of the upcoming U.S. sanctions.

"It is vital that we continue to engage with the United States and continue to interrogate our friends in Washington about how they see the nuclear deal developing".

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