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Iran seeks assurances on nuclear deal after USA pullout

Iran seeks assurances on nuclear deal after USA pullout

President Donald Trump's May 8 order to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, and reimpose USA sanctions has cast doubt over whether the deal can still work.

The ayatollah said European banks "must guarantee business transactions with the Islamic Republic", even in the face of United States sanctions.

The other countries involved in the JCPOA, the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Joint Commission, met Friday for the first time without the USA after Iran called for an urgent meeting of the body in Vienna.

"To be honest with you, we are not confident", a senior Iranian official told reporters shortly before the talks between senior officials aimed at fleshing out the package of measures to keep oil and investments flowing.

"We need both legal and political commitments by the remaining participants of the JCPOA, that they can continue the JCPOA with Iran without the USA and they can provide Iran with the benefits of sanction-lifting", stated Araghchi.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We have raised with the United States the need to make allowance for continued economic ties between Europe and Iran".

"I'm sorry to say that we haven't (seen) the Plan B yet. The Plan B has just started to be figured out".

He said European measures would need in large part to ensure that oil exports remained the same and that the SWIFT global payments messaging system continued to work for Iran. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday threatened Iran with "the strongest sanctions in history" if it did not change its behavior in the Middle East.

The "maximalist" demands would be tough for European leader to meet, but Khamenei has shown he is willing to budge in the past.

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If it pulls out of the deal, Iran would likely revert to its nuclear doctrine before the agreement or maybe even escalate its activities, the official said.

As in previous reports, the IAEA confirmed that the number of centrifuges to enrich uranium at Iran's Natanz plant had been kept below the agreed level of 5,060, while its total stockpile of low-enriched uranium "has not exceeded 300 kilogrammes (660 pounds)". He also rejected any new negotiations over Iran's missile program, which was not covered in the nuclear deal.

He added that Tehran would decide within the next few weeks whether to stay in the accord.

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.

Trump denounced the accord, completed under his predecessor Barack Obama, because it did not cover Iran's ballistic missile program or its role in Middle East wars, or address the issue of what happens after the deal begins to expire in 2025.

"We really shouldn't underestimate the degree to which the nuclear deal is losing support inside Iran", said Ellie Geranmayeh, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

While European nations share those concerns, they have said that as long as Tehran meets its commitments, they would remain in the deal.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which polices the pact, said Thursday that Iran continued to comply with its terms, but could be faster in allowing snap inspections.

Unusually for a meeting of the joint commission, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano was invited to brief the participants on the IAEA's work in Iran.


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