Zarif says Russian Federation confirmed readiness to honor Iran deal despite USA pullout

Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif are meeting in Moscow, as Zarif seeks "assurances" from the backers of the deal after the USA pulled out.

U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out on May 8, claiming that Iran had violated the "spirit" of the deal by financing militant violence in the Middle East and by continuing to test ballistic missiles.

"The ultimate goal of all these negotiations is to obtain assurances that the Iranian people's interests guaranteed by the JCPOA will be protected", he was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency on Monday. "Our talks (with the E3) will continue in the next two weeks", he said, referring to Britain, France and Germany.

May 13 in Beijing took place the official meeting, the foreign Ministers of China and Iran.

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Following his meeting with Zarif on Sunday, China's foreign minister said Beijing would "work to maintain the [nuclear] deal", state news agency Xinhua reported.

However, on May 8, Trump announced the USA withdrawal from the JCPOA.

European diplomats acknowledged that the EU support, however honest, risked looking hollow after Trump reimposed an array of wide sanctions last week on Iran that will hit European companies investing there.

"Tomorrow in Brussels, we are going to have a conversation about what we can do to help United Kingdom firms and help European firms have confidence that they can still do business". Chinese companies have been among the most active in investing in Iranian infrastructure projects and energy assets after sanctions were lifted in 2016.

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After the Chinese capital, where Zarif arrived yesterday, the Iranian Foreign Minister must visit Moscow and then Brussels, where he will meet with the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK.

China was closely involved in negotiating the agreement as one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and has always been a close Iranian economic partner, buying about a third of Iran's oil shipments.

They could consider retaliatory sanctions using the EU's so-called blocking statute that bans any European Union company from complying with USA sanctions and does not recognize any court rulings that enforce American penalties.

A number of European companies, including Airbus, Siemens and Total, had established operations in Iran since the signing of the deal.

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The EU insists the deal is working, pointing to repeated United Nations inspections verifying the Islamic Eepublic's compliance with its side of the bargain, and Mogherini's spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told AFP ahead Zarif's arrival that "we must do our utmost to preserve it". European companies could still face big fines, asset seizures and even criminal charges in the US.

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