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Iran to confirm next steps in withdrawal from nuclear deal

Abbas Mousavi, spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, gives a press conference in the capital Tehran on May 28, 2019.
Abbas Mousavi, spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, gives a press conference in the capital Tehran on May 28, 2019. Atta Kenare, AFP (file photo)

Iran will finalise its fifth step back from a nuclear deal later Sunday, a spokesman said, in retaliation for the US withdrawing from the multilateral accord and reimposing sanctions.

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“Regarding the fifth step, decisions had already been made... but considering the current situation, some changes will be made in an important meeting tonight,” foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in televised remarks two days after the US killed a top Iranian general in a drone strike.

“In the world of politics, all things affect each other,” he was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

Mousavi gave no indication as to what the next step would be nor when it would be announced.

President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 agreement between Tehran and six major powers in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran that have crippled its economy.  Hostilities between the countries escalated sharply after Friday’s US drone attack in Baghdad that killed Soleimani.

In reaction to the US policy of “maximum pressure” since Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement, Iran has gradually distanced itself from the deal, under which Tehran undertook to curb its nuclear activity in exchange for a lifting of many international sanctions.

>> Understanding the restrictions imposed by the Iran nuclear deal

Since May, Iran has been reducing its nuclear commitments with a series of steps every 60 days. In November, it gave Britain, France and Germany a third 60-day deadline to salvage the deal or face a further decrease of its nuclear commitments. The deadline passed on Saturday.

France and EU call for de-escalation

The European Union has continued to seek a diplomatic breakthrough.

The European Union said on Sunday that Iran’s foreign minister has been invited to Brussels, for a meeting aimed at a “de-escalation of tensions” in the Gulf after the US air strikes that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell made the offer to Mohammad Javad Zarif during a telephone call this weekend, a press release said.

“Borrell invited the Iranian Foreign Minister to Brussels to continue their engagement on these matters,” it said.

A regional political solution was the “only way forward”, Borrell said, underlining “the importance of preserving” the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

He confirmed “his resolve to continue to fully play his role as coordinator and keep the unity of the remaining participants in support of the agreement and its full implementation by all parties”.

This came after France urged Iran on Saturday to stick to the landmark 2015 nuclear accord.

“France fully shares with Germany the central objective of de-escalation and preservation of the Vienna (nuclear) accord,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

With China, “we in particular noted our agreement... to urge Iran to avoid any new violation of the Vienna accord,” he added.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

 

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