Iran minister on diplomatic tour to save nuclear deal

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has begun a diplomatic tour to seek assurances that signatories to a landmark nuclear deal will back it despite its abandonment by the US.

The JCPOA went into effect in January 2016.

Historic deal on Iran's nuclear program from 2015 provides for the removal of sanctions against Iran in exchange for limiting its opportunities for the enrichment and storage of nuclear materials.

After China, the Iranian foreign minister was scheduled to fly to Moscow for talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and then Brussels to consult with British, French and German foreign ministers as well as European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

"If the remaining five countries continue to abide by the agreement, Iran will remain in the deal despite the will of America", he continued, according to Reuters.

"As the president said, we are ready for all options".

France and other western allies have been critical of Washington's plan to reimpose sanctions on any companies doing business with Iran.

Iran has claimed its nuclear program is for civilian purposes and denies supporting extremists in the region.

"We think that the fight against nuclear non-proliferation is important and this agreement means that nuclear non-proliferation is possible because Iran will not go all the way to [build] nuclear weapons", he added.

Some analysts, however, accused him of doubling down on hawkish policies towards Iran.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said that his country intends to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. "They will never abandon the U.S. for us", said housewife Poormoslem at a protest rally against Trump on Friday.

"Together, we emphasise our continuing commitment to the JCPOA".

China's foreign minister also said his country is Iran's main trade partner and the two sides should defend their legitimate interests against others.

Russian Federation also criticised Trump's decision, with Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov alleging the move was "protectionism in disguise", in comments made on Thursday to state news agency TASS.

That is part of a flurry of diplomatic activity following Trump's unilateral withdrawal from what he called "a frightful, one-sided deal", a move accompanied by the threat of penalties against any foreign firms doing business in Iran.

Before leaving, Zarif published a government statement on his Twitter page, slamming Trump's "extremist administration" for abandoning "an accord recognized as a victory of diplomacy by the worldwide community".

"Officials shouldn't trust France and Britain".

  • Jon Douglas