Top Russian, Iranian diplomats to discuss ways of salvaging Iran nuclear deal

Iranians hold anti-US placards and shout slogans during a demonstration after Friday prayers in the capital Tehran

Iranians hold anti-US placards and shout slogans during a demonstration after Friday prayers in the capital Tehran

China's Foreign Ministry and state media said Javad Zarif was visiting Beijing on Sunday at the head of a large political and economic delegation to "exchange views with relevant parties on the developments of the Iranian nuclear issue".

Earlier Tuesday, Zarif said he had a "very good and constructive" meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who helps to supervise the U.N. Security Council-endorsed agreement.

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

Whatever decided should preserve and guarantee Iran's rights. He also said Iran should receive economic benefits promised in the accord, even if the USA reinstates sanctions.

Zarif is now on a tour of the countries that are the parties to the agreement on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to hold consultations to salvage the deal.

He will also meet with the foreign ministers of Germany, France and the United Kingdom in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the future of the deal.

However, US President Donald Trump, a long-time critic of the agreement, on Tuesday defied last-ditch efforts by European allies and announced Washington's withdrawal from the deal.

China was closely involved in negotiating the agreement as one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and has always been a close Iranian economic partner, buying about a third of Iran's oil shipments.

They include retaliatory sanctions, allowing the European Investment Bank to invest directly in Iran and co-ordinating euro-denominated credit lines from European governments.

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.

On Sunday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington still wants to work with Europe to counter Iran's "malign behaviour" and was working hard to thrash out a more wide-ranging deal with its European partners.

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.

The minister echoed calls from Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders that Iran should agree to a broader deal that went beyond the original accord and included Iran's "problematic role in the region".

Despite the United States 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. "We don't have much to threaten the Americans".

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