Iran urges Europe to save nuclear deal after US exit

Vienna/Tehran,   Iran’s nuclear chief on Monday called on European countries to take concrete steps to save the 2015 nuclear agreement following the US withdrawal from the deal.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, during a speech to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, said he was encouraged by proposals from France, the UK and Germany but added further action was required, Efe news reported.

Iran and six world powers — Russia, Britain, China, France, the US and Germany — struck the landmark deal over Iran’s nuclear programme, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Under the 2015 deal, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear programme in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against it.

However, US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw Washington from the deal on May 8 and re-impose sanctions, including oil embargo, on Iran.

Salehi warned that US policies jeopardized peace and security in the Middle East, saying that the EU needed to fulfil its obligations during the gathering of the IAEA’s 62nd General Conference.

European countries have been working to keep the deal from collapsing through measures dedicated to guaranteeing the economic benefits for Iran that were part of the deal.

For his part, US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry asserted during the conference on Monday that the nuclear deal was defective from the beginning.

The IAEA general conference is held to review the activities and policies of the UN agency, charged with ensuring global nuclear safety.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Ministry ruled out the possibility of negotiations with the US over the enduring thorny issues in the near future.

Tehran would not again sit at the negotiation table with the “cheating” US government, Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qasemi said.