Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on a visit to Moscow Monday he was seeking “assurances” from the backers of the country’s nuclear deal after the United States pulled out.
Britain meanwhile said it will discuss ways to protect companies doing business with Iran at a meeting with counterparts from France and Germany Tuesday.
“What we are going to do tomorrow in Brussels is we are going to have a conversation about what we can do to help U.K. firms, European firms have some confidence that they can still do business,” Johnson said.
The three European allies and Russia are trying to keep the landmark 2015 accord alive in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision, pushing Moscow into rare cooperation with Europe. “The final aim of these negotiations is to seek assurances that the interests of the Iranian nation will be defended,” Zarif said at the start of a meeting with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
After the talks, Zarif praised the “excellent cooperation” between Moscow and Tehran and said Lavrov had promised him to “defend and keep the agreement.”
Zarif later said he was seeking “solutions in order for other countries, in particular those remaining in the agreement, to have relations with Iran without hindrance,” in comments reported by the Iranian ISNA news agency. Lavrov, for his part, said Russia and Europe had a duty to “jointly defend their legal interests” in terms of the deal.
Zarif’s diplomatic tour took him to Beijing, which also supports the nuclear accord, and will see him visit Brussels later in the week, as the backers of the agreement scramble to save it. He also sent a letter to the United Nations in which he accused the U.S. of showing a “complete disregard for international law” in pulling out of the deal.
Putin also met Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and said Russia was “ready to continue to uphold the Iran nuclear deal despite the withdrawal of the United States.”
“The Europeans, after the withdrawal of the U.S. from the deal, have found themselves forced to save the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action themselves,” he told AFP, referring to the official name of the nuclear deal.