Europe steps up efforts to salvage Iran accord ditched by Trump


BORIS Johnson final night time insisted the Iran nuclear deal nonetheless "has worth" as he held disaster talks with European Union counterparts and Iran in a bid to reserve it.

The United States' top diplomat said Washington still wants to work with Europe to counter Iran's "malign behaviour" as President Donald Trump called his withdrawal from the landmark nuclear deal key to containing Tehran.

US President Donald Trump withdrew America from the historic Iran agreement last week, but other nations, including the UK, France, and Germany, have said that they will continue to uphold it.

"I think the Europeans will see that's in their interest ultimately to go along with this", he said.

It is the only major Western energy company that plunged into a business deal with Iran once sanctions were lifted in 2016, signing a $1 billion investment in the offshore South Pars gas field.

But in an interview aired on the ABC's "This Week" program, Bolton said, "That's not the policy of the administration. It depends on the conduct of other governments".

Following Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S from the nuclear accord, Iran and Israel exchanged blows over Syria, with Israel carrying out air strikes on Iranian targets inside Syria after Iran fired rockets at Israeli military targets, the BBC reported. From the economic perspective, watch for how European companies like Renault, Volkswagen and Fiat-Chrysler with plans to invest in Iran react to U.S. plans to resume sanctions against the Islamic Republic. So far, France, Germany and the United Kingdom have all said they want to stay in the Iran deal.

The nuclear deal provided Iran with relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

"Today we expect to examine how we can use the mechanisms at our disposal with the participation of the European Troika, China, Russia, Iran and the European Union to prevent the undermining of this important document, to prevent destabilization of the situation in the region and to prevent new threats to the non-proliferation regime".

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Mr Johnson left Brussels without speaking to reporters.

France's foreign minister said Friday he had asked for exemptions or longer grace periods for the exit of French companies such as oil-and-gas giant Total SA and vehicle maker Peugeot SA that have returned to the Iranian market since the 2015 nuclear accord.

Zarif was in Moscow to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday, a day after visiting Beijing.

Bolton said Europe was still digesting Trump's move last week.

The EU insists the deal is working, pointing to repeated United Nations inspections verifying the Islamic republic'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".

Despite the U.S. exit, Britain and Iran expressed their commitment on Sunday to ensuring that the accord is upheld, according to a statement released by British Prime Minister Theresa May's office.

The US withdrawal from the Iran deal has upset Washington's European allies, cast uncertainty over global oil supplies and raised the risk of conflict in the Middle East.

Israel said it had attacked almost all of Iran's military infrastructure in Syria yesterday after Iranian forces allegedly fired rockets at Israeli-held territory for the first time.

French President Emmanuel Macron held phone talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, and the Kremlin said they had "confirmed Russia and France's commitment to make the deal work".