‘Good Start’: Iranian FM Cites Progress With EU Leaders on Salvaging Nuke Deal

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif continued his diplomatic world tour in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday to see whether the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action could still provide “full benefits for Iran” without Washington’s participation.

Tehran must receive guarantees on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said May 15, describing ministerial meetings in Brussels as “a good start.”

“We started the process, I believe we are on the right track, a lot depends on what we can do within the next few weeks… I believe it’s a good start. We’re not there, and we need to receive those guarantees” on the multilateral agreement, Zarif said on Tuesday following talks with EU leaders. Zarif met with the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom, and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in the EU capital.

Zarif recently completed visits with his counterparts in Beijing and Moscow — other signatories to the 2015 deal — to ascertain whether it’s in Iran’s interest to keep up its end of the historic bargain that US President Donald Trump decided to dump, reapplying harsh economic sanctions against Tehran.

In a Tuesday tweet, Zarif reiterated that the meetings had been “constructive” and “positive.”

​On May 8, the foreign minister released a statement saying, “in response to US persistent violations & unlawful withdrawal from the nuclear deal, as instructed by President [Hassan] Rouhani, I’ll spearhead a diplomatic effort to examine whether remaining JCPOA participants can ensure its full benefits for Iran. Outcome will determine our response.”

Speaking with Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear, Massoud Shadjareh, founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, said it would be “bizarre” for the US to continue to remain outside the deal altogether. He pointed out that Trump’s reasons for ditching the deal never made sense to begin with, calling the move “mind-puzzling.”

The full piece and interview can be found on Sputnik published on 16 May 2018