Iran's Zarif says had constructive European Union meeting over nuclear deal: Tasnim

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif disembarks from a plane

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif disembarks from a plane

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that he hopes the diplomatic marathon, which began today with a visit to Beijing, will allow a future clear framework for the nuclear agreement to emerge after the withdrawal of the United States.

Europe sought on Tuesday to find a way to save the Iran nuclear deal without the United States but was short on details about how the accord could survive the reimposition of USA sanctions ordered by President Donald Trump.

"It was a nice and constructive meeting", Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

"The Europeans, after the withdrawal of the United States from the deal, have found themselves forced to save the Joint Cooperative Plan of Action themselves", he added.

The Iranian minister is expected to meet his German, French and British counterparts Tuesday evening in a meeting hosted by the European Union foreign policy chief.

Iran said it would remain committed to the deal without Washington if Tehran achieved its goals - namely being protected from sanctions against key sectors of its economy such as oil - in cooperation with other countries that have signed up to the agreement.

Highlighting just how hard it will be, the U.S. Treasury announced on Tuesday more sanctions, including on Iran's central bank governor, just minutes before the Brussels meeting was due to begin.

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

After the talks, Zarif praised the "excellent cooperation" between Moscow and Tehran and said Lavrov had promised him to "defend and keep the agreement". "America's position in the global banking system and the punitive measures they could take on countries and businesses in Europe that do business in Iran".

Top Iranian officials, including Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, have said Europeans must give the required guarantees in order for Tehran to stay in the deal.

Johnson and Mogherini said those issues would be discussed at another time.

While announcing his decision, Trump called the agreement "defective at its core", claiming that after the lifting of the sanctions Tehran "used its new funds to build nuclear-capable missiles, support terrorism and cause havoc throughout the Middle East and beyond". Chinese companies have been among the most active in investing in Iranian infrastructure projects and energy assets after sanctions were lifted in 2016.

China has maintained investment and trade relations with Iran, even under the economic sanctions from Western nations before the nuclear deal.

But European diplomats have sought to play down expectations of Tuesday's meetings, stressing the enormous challenge of finding a way around USA sanctions punishing foreign businesses trading with Iran, which have global reach.

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