Iran hopeful of forging ‘clear future’ for nuclear deal on diplomatic tour

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Beijing, May 13: Iran’s foreign minister said today he was hopeful of forging a “clear future design” for the nuclear deal facing collapse after Washington’s withdrawal, at the start of a diplomatic tour aimed at rescuing the agreement.
“We hope that with this visit to China and other countries we will be able to construct a clear future design for the comprehensive agreement,” Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters after talks in Beijing with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
Zarif will later fly to Moscow and Brussels to consult the remaining signatories to the 2015 agreement denounced by US President Donald Trump.
Washington’s decision to withdraw from the deal and reimpose sanctions angered its European allies as well as China and Russia.
China was one of the six powers — with the United States, Russia, France, the UK and Germany — that signed the historic pact, which saw sanctions lifted in return for the commitment by Tehran not to acquire nuclear weapons.
As he arrived in Beijing, Zarif said Tehran was “ready for all option(s)”, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.
“If the nuclear deal is to continue, the interests of the people of Iran must be assured,” he added.
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.”
Tehran’s chief diplomat embarked on the tour as regional tensions spiked just days after unprecedented Israeli strikes in Syria which a monitor said killed at least 11 Iranian fighters, triggering fears of a broader conflict between the two arch-enemies.
Before leaving, Zarif published a government statement on his Twitter page, slamming Trump’s “extremist administration” for abandoning “an accord recognised as a victory of diplomacy by the international community”. (AFP)