Iran Sets May 31 Deadline In Scramble To Salvage Nuclear Deal

Iran Sets May 31 Deadline In Scramble To Salvage Nuclear Deal

The other countries involved in the JCPOA, the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Joint Commission, met Friday for the first time without the US after Iran called for an urgent meeting of the body in Vienna.

If it pulls out of the deal, Iran would likely revert to its nuclear doctrine before the agreement or maybe even escalate its activities, the official said.

He added that the Europeans had promised Iran an "economic package" to maintain the benefits of the JCPOA for Iran despite the reintroduction of United States sanctions. They will also want assurances that all parties will continue to buy Iranian oil. The official said that Iranian hard-line factions that always opposed the nuclear deal are now pushing for a broader reevaluation of Iran's approach to nuclear issues.

The IAEA, however, is "encouraging (Iran) to go above and beyond the requirements" of the deal in order to boost confidence, said a senior diplomat in Vienna, where the IAEA is based.

The International Atomic Energy Agency report, seen by AFP Thursday, shows that Iran is abiding by the deal's key restrictions on its nuclear facilities in return for relief from damaging economic sanctions. "But I'm sorry to say we haven't seen the Plan B yet".

Some Western companies have already quit Iran or said they may have to leave because of US sanctions.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said he expected the other signatories to present "a new package" that would be within the boundaries of the agreement, but did not include "any other issues". "The Plan B has just started to be figured out".

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European measures would need to ensure that oil exports did not halt, and that Iran would still have access to the SWIFT worldwide bank payments messaging system, he said. The accord's demise threatens to lift limits on Tehran's nuclear program, disrupt billions of dollars in planned European investment in Iran, exacerbate transatlantic relations and disrupt oil flows from OPEC's third biggest producer. The Europeans must take a resolution against the the UN Security Council and file complaint against the US move. Some Western companies have already quit Iran or said they may have to leave because of the new USA sanctions.

Iran has struggled to benefit from the accord so far, partly because of remaining unilateral USA sanctions that have deterred major Western investors from doing business with Tehran.

Trump denounced the accord, completed under his predecessor Barack Obama, partly because it did not cover Iran's ballistic missile development programme, its role in Middle East conflicts or what happens after the deal begins to expire in 2025.

The UN atomic watchdog policing the nuclear accord said on Thursday that Iran is still complying with the terms of the deal despite the United States withdrawal, but that it could be faster and more proactive in allowing snap inspections.

The 2015 Iran nuclear deal is now hanging in the balance after Tehran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei issued his demands to European Union powers, which are likely to be rejected by the UK, France and Germany.

The official said that if they were unhappy with how things panned out they would seek a ministerial meeting and then decide. Its chief, Yukiya Amano, briefed participants before Friday's meeting.

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