Rhetoric over U.S. exit from Iran deal rises amid threat of sanctions

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Iran's Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in Beijing today on the first leg of a whirlwind diplomatic tour planned to rescue the nuclear deal left on the brink of collapse after the United States pulled out.

Macron strongly opposes Trump's pullout from the 2015 global deal curbing Iran's nuclear activities.

Zarif later told a joint news conference with Lavrov that "the final aim of these negotiations is to seek assurances that the interests of the Iranian nation will be safeguarded".

Germany acknowledged it could be hard to protect companies doing business with Iran as a senior US official renewed a threat of sanctions against European firms following Washington's decision to pull out of a nuclear deal with Tehran.

Theresa May reiterated the UK's position on the Iran deal during a phone call with President Trump on Friday, and noted the commitment from the United Kingdom and European partners in preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

To suggest that somehow the withdrawal from the JCPOA is driving the Iranian conduct that has taken place during the JCPOA in Yemen, the rise in Hezbollah, all of those things took place during the JCPOA.

Trump's new ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, suggested that exemptions were unlikely, saying Thursday, 'German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately'.

'The Prime Minister reiterated the Government's position on the Iran nuclear deal, noting that we and our European partners remain firmly committed to ensuring the deal is upheld, as the best way of preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Media captionAnalysis: What's next for the Iran deal?

If the United States punishes European companies for doing business with Iran, foreign companies will likely walk away from Iran.

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"It is going to be very hard for us to preserve the economic benefits of the Iran deal", one senior European diplomat said.

While both Saudi Arabia and Israel have welcomed Trump's decision to come out of the deal, the European powers issued a statement expressing "regret and concern" over the development and their "continuing commitment" to the deal overseen by them.

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.

"The Europeans have between 45 and 60 days to give the necessary guarantees to safeguard Iranian interests and compensate the damages caused by the U.S. pullout", Icana.ir reported.

The U.S. decision reignited the danger of economic crisis for Iran, which is now at the center of Tehran's diplomatic efforts.

The White House has already began a fresh push to put pressure on Iran and Washington's European allies.

Many say sanctions allow the government to blame outsiders for its own bad decisions.

European countries and companies that continue to do business with Iran could face USA sanctions, National Security Adviser John Bolton said Sunday.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

In his remarks announcing the United States" withdraw from the deal, President Trump threatened, "We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction. It was termed "insane", "horrible" and "one-sided" by Trump during his presidential campaign and even after taking over as president.

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