World powers back Iran oil exports despite USA sanctions threat

IRAN PRESIDENT Hassan Rouhani and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz attend a news conference at the

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In another phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron late on Thursday, Rouhani described Paris' efforts to save the nuclear deal as "positive" but noted that "Europe's proposed package for keeping up cooperation in the JCPOA does not meet all our expectations".

"China consistently believes that the relevant country should do more to benefit peace and stability in the region, and jointly protect peace and stability there", Chen told a news briefing, ahead of a major summit between China and Arab states in Beijing next week.

Despite the USA threat to penalise companies and banks that do business with Iran, the remaining signatories said they would work to promote investment and trade.

Top diplomats from Iran and five world powers sat down in Vienna on Friday to hash out what steps are needed to preserve the nuclear deal with Tehran following the withdrawal of the United States.

Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (r) and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani give a joint press conference following a meeting on July 4, 2018 at the Chancellery in Vienna.

"They (Iran) must stop threatening to break their commitments to the nuclear deal", Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

In late June, Iran's Press TV cited Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi as saying that the UK, Germany, France and the European Union had vowed to put forward a package of practical economic measures to offset the U.S. withdrawal, including those related to oil sales and transit.

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"We are trying to do it before sanctions are imposed at the start of August and then another set of sanctions in November".

Back on May 8, US President Donald Trump announced Washington's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal (an agreement made in 2015 between Iran, the UK, Germany, China, Russia, the US and France) as, in his words, the agreement left Iran a possibility to create a nuclear bomb bypassing all the restrictions. "For August it seems a bit short, but we are trying to do it by November", he said. "It's also not just about what the Europeans can do, but also how the Chinese, Russians, Indians, others can contribute", said a senior European diplomat.

Since Trump's shock move in May, Washington has warned other countries to end trade and investment in the Islamic republic and stop buying its oil from early November or face punitive measures.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also said that world powers would not be able to fully compensate for companies who are abandoning their operations in Iran.

Maas said he expected negotiations to continue after the Friday talks, which were convened at Iran's request.

If Iran can not sell its oil under United States pressure, then no other regional country will be allowed to either, said Mohammad Ali Jafari, who commands the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran's most powerful military force. "To save the deal, other signatories should compensate for USA sanctions", a senior Iranian official told Reuters on Friday.

Since Trump's announcement, Iran's rial currency has fallen, prices have risen and the country has been hit by street protests and strikes.

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