Iran, US to hold talks on 2015 nuke deal

Iran, US to hold talks on 2015 nuke deal

United States and European Union flags are pictured at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels.

The 2015 accord between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany curtailed Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

The European parties to the agreement are desperate to save it and have been scrambling to find ways to persuade Trump not to rip it up.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's sacking shows that Washington is set on quitting the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, Iran's deputy foreign minister said Wednesday. "We need to make sure that we don't throw out the baby with the bath water, so we keep the nuclear agreement". A senior White House official said that Washington and the European Union have had positive discussions towards supporting a replacement deal beyond the Iran nuclear deal by May 12.

It spoke of "intensive talks" with Washington to "achieve a clear and lasting reaffirmation of U.S. support for the agreement beyond May 12". The Trump administration hit the ground running, re-imposing sanctions against Iran in its first weeks in office and also instating restrictions against those who are complicit with Tehran.

"There is a lot we agree on and where we disagree we are working to bridge our differences", Hook said.

The document referred to sanctions that would "target militias and commanders". These include no penalties for Iran's missile work and support for militant groups in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

More news: Moscow gives 23 British diplomats a week to pack

"Such a proliferation of Iranian missile capabilities throughout the region is an additional and serious source of concern", the document said.

State Department policy planning chief Brian Hook is leading the USA delegation in the meeting of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Joint Commission, or JCPOA.

"The ballistic programme of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has a defensive nature, will steadfastly continue", said Shamkhani, who is a close ally of supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

"In case some European countries are following steps to put non-nuclear sanctions against Iran in order to please the American president, they will be making a big mistake and they will see the direct result of that on the nuclear deal", Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi was quoted as saying in state-run media according to the Reuters news agency.

In a January 13 cable, the State Department sketched out a path under which the three European allies would simply commit to try to improve the deal over time in return for Trump keeping the pact alive by renewing sanctions relief in May.

The nuclear deal's terms did not cover ballistic missile activity.

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