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Iran's Foreign Minister in China to rescue nuclear deal

14 May 2018
Iran's Foreign Minister in China to rescue nuclear deal

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.

President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the deal on Tuesday, raising the risk of conflict in the Middle East, upsetting European allies and casting uncertainty over global oil supplies.

China, Russia, France, Germany, Britain, and the United States signed the 2015 accord, which provided Tehran with relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

According to the semi-official ISNA news agency, Iranian Foreign Minister said in Beijing that he will discuss Iran's decision to stay in deal with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Zarif told Wang that maintaining the nuclear deal will serve Iran's interest.

After their meeting, Zarif and Wang hailed the "comprehensive strategic partnership" between their countries, with the Chinese minister saying: "I hope and believe that these visits to multiple countries will. help protect Iran's legitimate national interests and peace and stability in the region".

Iran has said it would remain in the JCPOA for now, pending negotiations with the other signatories in the coming weeks before making a final decision on its future role in the agreement.

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

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

Al Jazeera's Zein Basravi, reporting from Tehran, said Zarif's tour was an attempt to "salvage the nuclear deal and keep it on life support".

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said Saturday that 11 Iranians were among the pro-regime fighters killed in strikes by Israel, which has vowed to prevent Iran gaining a military foothold in neighbouring Syria. The exacerbation of relations between Israel and Iran over Syria has sparked Moscow's concern, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The Iranian nuclear deal is a result of multilateral efforts contributing to the protection of the worldwide non-proliferation regime, and supporting peace and stability in the Middle East, Wang added. This is while the UN's atomic watchdog, the IAEA, have in 10 periodical reports since the JCPOA's implementation in January 2016 testified to Iran's abidance by the deal.

The sentiment was echoed on the streets.

Protesters burned an American flag and railed against the USA and Israel after emerging from Friday prayers in Tehran.

A photo on the official Instagram site of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei showed him reading a Farsi translation of Michael Wolff's scabrous account of the Trump White House, "The Fire and the Fury", quickly picking up more than 100,000 likes.

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.