Sunday, 22 September 2019

Iran gives Europe two months to save nuclear deal

TEHRAN: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani gave European powers another two months to save a 2015 nuclear deal, but warned that Tehran was still preparing for further significant breaches of the agreement if diplomatic efforts failed.

His statement came as Iranian officials appeared to give a guarded welcome to a French proposal to save the atomic pact by offering Iran about $15 billion in credit lines until the end of the year if Tehran comes fully back into compliance.Rouhani said talks with European powers were moving forward, raising hopes of at least a pause in a diplomatic confrontation between Iran and the West that has stoked already heightened tensions across the region.

Iran emerged from years of economic isolation after agreeing a deal with world powers in 2015 to curb its nuclear development program in exchange for sanctions relief. However, US President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal last year, arguing it did not go far enough, and re-imposed sanctions.

Tehran responded with two separate moves that breached some of the terms of the deal, although it says it still aims to save the pact. Rouhani had threatened to take further measures by Sept. 5 unless France and the other European signatories of the pact did more to protect Iran from the impact of the US penalties.

“I think it is unlikely that we will reach a result with Europe by today or tomorrow … Europe will have another two months to fulfil its commitments,” Rouhani said, according to state TV.

“The talks between Iran and European countries are moving forward … but we have yet to reach a conclusion,” he added.

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