The United States and European countries are "a long way from a compromise" on a new Iran nuclear deal, Germany's top diplomat said, as Iran's supreme leader called on European countries to reject USA demands for a tougher deal with Iran.
Ayatollah Khamenei added Iran has the right to resume its restricted nuclear activities if the Europeans failed to meet the Islamic Republic's demands.
Europeans have been working on a suite of proposals, including making it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to invest in Iran, sheltering payments for oil and gas from USA sanctions and ordering European businesses to disregard the new US measures.
If the Americans try to interfere with Iran's oil sales, the Europeans must guarantee the purchase of oil from Iran.
"We think it's most likely that in the next three to four months, the Iranians decide to walk, simply because what the Europeans can offer - with regards to trade, investment and oil sales - it will not be sufficient to balance out the nuclear concession that Iran is making".
"This is a very important meeting that will show whether the other parties are serious about the deal or not", an Iranian official told Reuters.
Under the landmark accord, Iran had accepted limits on its nuclear programme in exchange for relief from global trade, oil and banking sanctions. "But I'm sorry to say we haven't seen the Plan B yet".
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week called for the negotiation of a new deal that would go far beyond the single focus of the 2015 agreement and would have the status of a formal treaty - a suggestion Iran flatly rejects. But that has proven hard, with European firms frightened away by USA sanctions.
He called on them to "guarantee the total sales of Iran's oil", meaning that Europe must promise to make up for any oil sales from third countries which are cancelled because of United States sanctions.
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"We were always told there is a Plan B", the official said.
He added that Tehran would decide within the next few weeks whether to stay in the accord.
The Iranian diplomat added, the Islamic Republic needs a guarantee it will be able to continue to sell its oil on world markets, have global banking access and broad trade protections.
A senior diplomat at IAEA headquarters said this was not prompted by any lack of co-operation or change of behaviour on Iran's part. Such a guarantee would potentially cost Europe billions of dollars. Iran's senior nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, urged the European signatories to keep the deal beneficial for Iran.
The U.S. Treasury announced more sanctions on Thursday on several Iranian and Turkish companies and a number of aircraft in a move targeting four Iranian airlines.
The official said time was running out and that if Iran was not satisfied with European efforts, Tehran would seek a ministerial meeting before making its decision.
Trump denounced the accord, completed under his predecessor, Barack Obama, because it did not cover Iran's ballistic missile program, its role in Middle East conflicts or what happens after the deal begins to expire in 2025.
Diplomats will also consider verification activities of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors, who reported on Thursday that Iran continues abiding by its commitments. The IAEA's director general, Yukiya Amano, briefed participants before Friday's meeting.