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June 22, 2018 2:32 pm

Frustrated by Lack of Economic Guarantees, Iranian Regime Likely to Exit Nuclear Deal, Deputy FM Says

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Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi. Photo: Reuters / Raheb Homavandi.

A senior Iranian official said on Friday that the Tehran regime was likely to exit the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, in the coming weeks.

Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, was speaking in Vienna following talks convened at Tehran’s request with the remaining parties to the deal — China, Russia, France, the UK and Germany.

The US withdrew from the deal on May 8, when President Donald Trump refused to renew sanctions waivers on Iran and imposed tough new sanctions instead.

“I told the conference today that the JCPOA is in the intensive care unit because it has lost its balance as a result of US withdrawal from the deal,” Araghchi told reporters in the Austrian capital.

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For several weeks, Iran has been demanding that the powers who remain committed to the JCPOA compensate Tehran for the new US sanctions. Because of the American measures, a number of major European corporations, including German engineering company Siemens and French oil giant Total, have abruptly pulled out of business deals with Iran that were agreed after the majority of the sanctions were lifted in 2015.

Araghchi said that Friday’s talks were intended to establish whether the remaining signatories “can provide us with a package which can give Iran the benefits of sanctions lifting.” He remarked that if the other signatories of JCPOA wanted to stabilize the deal, they had to “sacrifice more” in this respect.

Separately, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) told a prestigious gathering of diplomats in Oslo that a bleak future lay in store for their countries if they failed to offset Iranian losses under the sanctions.

“If the European Union and other countries supporting the JCPOA do not demonstrate their practical opposition to the US policies in due time, they will face a dreadful future and unprecedented insecurity in the region and the world because of the JCPOA’s collapse,” the AEOI’s head, Ali Akbar Salehi, remarked at the 2018 Oslo Forum.

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