Iran nuclear deal: Envoy starts diplomatic tour after United States withdrawal

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Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said Germany viewed President Donald Trump's unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear pact as wrong, adding that Berlin hopes Washington can still be persuaded not to punish foreign firms doing business there.

"Our meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif in Brussels is a chance to discuss how we can continue to support sanctions relief with Iran while they maintain their nuclear agreement obligations, but also raise our worries about Iran's wider, disruptive behavior in the Middle East region", Johnson said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Wednesday that China would "carry on the normal and transparent pragmatic cooperation with Iran".

Lavrov also voiced support for Iran's right to defend its "legitimate interests" as part of the agreement, which removed nuclear sanctions against Iran in early 2016 in exchange for certain limits to its civilian nuclear activities.

Germany - along with France and Britain - has said it remains committed to the nuclear deal.

French President Emmanuel Macron held phone talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, according to a Kremlin statement, which said they had "confirmed Russia and France's commitment to make the deal work".

On Sunday, US National Security Adviser John Bolton threatened the European allies that Washington is prepared to impose sanctions on European companies if their governments refuse to heed Trump's demand to stop dealing with Iran.

President Trump says he's working with China to save ZTE
Trump has repeatedly blasted China for what he calls unfair trade practices. The announcement followed a decision last month by the U.S.

But European diplomats briefed on the Brussels meeting acknowledged that the EU support, however honest, risked looking hollow after Trump last week reimposed an array of wide sanctions on the Islamic Republic that will hit European companies investing in Iran.

"[But] if the nuclear deal is to continue, the interests of the people of Iran must be assured".

Iran's president Hassan Rouhani has assigned his foreign minister to review the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), through direct talks with his British, Chinese, French, German and Russian counterparts.

Among them is the possible use of an EU "blocking regulation" which would, in essence, ban European companies from respecting American sanctions where those sanctions might damage EU interests, notably trade and the movement of capital. In a separate interview on CNN's "State of the Union, " he said Iran's economic condition is "really quite shaky, " so the impact of sanctions "could be dramatic".

Le Drian expressed France's "determination to fight" so that the USA decisions don't hurt those companies that have invested in Iran.

Despite the USA exit, Britain and Iran expressed their commitment to ensuring that the accord is upheld, according to a statement released by British Prime Minister Theresa May's office.

"The European signatories should make up for the USA withdrawal from the JCPOA and guarantee our rights".

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